Here’s something I hope doesn’t become the beginning of a disturbing trend. In a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee, an ICE agent arrived at the home of an illegal alien to make an arrest. The suspect was sitting in his van with son and the officer blocked them off from escaping with his own vehicle. What should have been a fairly routine detention then took a turn for the weird. Neighbors began showing up, delivery food, water and gasoline to the suspect, eventually forming a human chain to block the ICE agent while the man ran back into his house. (The Hill)

A group of neighbors in Hermitage, Tenn., formed a human chain Monday morning to prevent an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent from trying to bring a man into custody.

News Channel 5 Nashville reported that an ICE vehicle had blocked the man, who was inside his van with his son, from leaving his driveway.

Over the course of the morning, neighbors brought the man water, gas and wet rags to allow him to remain in the van, according to the outlet. After about four hours, the group formed a human chain to allow the two to run from the vehicle and enter their house.

By the time all of this was over, local police were on the scene as well, but they didn’t step in on either side of the standoff. They were only there to keep order, not to assist with immigration enforcement activities. (See: sanctuary policies.)

The problem for the ICE agent was that he had an administrative warrant. This authorized him to detain the suspect, but not to forcibly remove him from his home or vehicle. Once the illegal alien left the vehicle to head for the house the agent could have arrested him had he not been blocked by the human chain of neighbors.

First of all, this type of obstruction is illegal and it has nothing to do with immigration law. In Tennessee, Prevention or Obstruction of Legal Writ or Process is a Class A misdemeanor. Depending on the circumstances, additional charges may be brought that are felonies. The ICE agent was following the law by refraining from attempting to remove the man from his vehicle. But as soon as the neighbors moved to block to officer from reaching the illegal alien, they were in violation of the law.

If this town has sanctuary policies in place forbidding the local police from assisting ICE, that’s one thing. But that doesn’t mean that they can blithely stand by and watch a crime being committed just because it proves to be an inconvenience to immigration enforcement. The neighbors were breaking the law, but the local police were negligent as well. This establishes a very damaging precedent and they should all be held to account or we’re going to be seeing this all over the country.