Rural Trump Voters Have Second Thoughts About Opposing Immigration After Recent ICE Raids Violate Their Christian Beliefs

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently conducted a large-scale workplace raid in Bean Station, Tennessee, a rural community that overwhelmingly voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.


However, many community members who backed Trump nonetheless found themselves disturbed at the way that ICE had gone about rounding up immigrant families -- and now they're rethinking their past hard-line stance on immigration.

In a lengthy report published by The New Yorker, some local residents say that raids such as the one in their community go against their deeply held Christian values.

"I’m a Christian; God loves everybody equally," 50-year-old Hank Smith told the publication. "And I never had a problem with anyone being here... immigration didn’t really affect me before. But then this raid happened."

Pastor David Williams, who leads the local Hillcrest Baptist Church, says he's seen people in his congregation change their minds about the best way to deal with undocumented immigrants.

"You cannot be a true Christian if you ignore your neighbor in need," he told the New Yorker. "The people in the middle have had their hearts soften because of the raid."

As the New Yorker documents, the raid on immigrant workers was particularly traumatic for many people in the nearby town of Morristown, Tennessee, where "more than five hundred students were reported absent from area schools" the day after the raid.

Deborah, a 44-year-old Trump voter, said that while she has conflicting views on immigration, she didn't hesitate to help out her community members who were affected by the ICE raid.

"I never understood all the technicalities of what it takes to become a legalized resident," she told the New Yorker. "How can I judge what I don’t understand?"

Read the whole story here.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close