GRAINGER COUNTY, Tenn. — The United States has agreed to pay more than $1 million total to those affected by a 2018 ICE Raid in Bean Station. The proposed agreement would settle claims of unreasonable seizures, arrests and use of force by federal agents.
On Oct. 19, U.S. District Judge Travis McDonough signed a preliminary approval of the agreement. The court will meet again on Feb. 27, 2023, to hold the final approval hearing.
The U.S. government agreed to pay $475,000 total to six plaintiffs in the case, and two of the plaintiffs will receive nearly $37,000 each for individual claims.
The settlement provided $150,000 to pay for attorney fees and expenses to be split evenly between the Southern Poverty Law Center and National Immigration Law Center. The U.S. also agreed to defer ICE enforcement action on those plaintiffs as they apply to legally work in the country.
The other $550,000 of the settlement will be paid toward a Class Settlement Fund, in which any of the nearly 100 people affected by the ICE raid would be able to receive between $5,000 and $6,000.
Proposed settlement paperwork said "Latino workers who were detained during the Department of Homeland Security and Internal Revenue Service enforcement operation" would be eligible to receive those funds, and can do so by submitting a claim form.
Both sides agreed to the settlement, and a federal judge would have to approve the agreement before it is finalized.
"The parties vigorously litigated this action for over three-and-a-half years," the proposed settlement paperwork said.
In 2019, the National Immigration Law Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of workers affected by the raid.
The lawsuit alleged, during the 2018 raid at a Bean Station meat packing plant, ICE workers detained every worker who looked Latino without knowing their citizenship status or whether they had documentation.
Search warrants for that raid, which were filed as evidence in this lawsuit, said the IRS was searching for documents involving the plant owner, James Brantley, and potential tax evasion.
In 2018, Brantley pleaded guilty to tax fraud, wire fraud and "employment of unauthorized illegal aliens."