On Tuesday morning, over 300 federal agents and support staff stormed upon Sumner-based company, Load Trail, resulting in the arrest of 160 undocumented workers.
Friday afternoon, locals are still shaken and divided by the raid with many voicing their opinions on social media.
However, the families of those detained on Tuesday are left living in fear and scared to go home after many rumors, lies, and threats circulate the area.
A source told myparistexas.com, “Many of the families of those detained on Tuesday have heard rumors of ICE knocking on doors, scouring the area and even though many are legal, it has left them in fear of returning home.”
Other rumors currently doing the rounds is that of local law enforcement working with ICE to detain more illegal immigrants; a rumor local law enforcement strongly denies.
“That is absolutely false,” said Chief of Police Bob Hundley.
“The police department has not been contacted by any federal authority to assist in the investigation or arrest of anyone who may be suspected of a violation of federal immigration law.”
Hundley said that the Paris Police Department is here to protect the local community.
The Lamar County Sheriff ‘s Department and the Fannin County Sheriff’s Department echoed Hundley’s statement, denying any contact with ICE and dispelling the gossip circulating.
While the rumors of police involvement locally are not true, the families of those detained say there have been many threats over the past few days.
“There have been threats since Tuesday. There was one incident of people standing outside a church where many families were, shouting threats trying to scare them,” said the source who did not want to be named.
Hundley says that any threats made to anyone in the community will not be tolerated.
“The police department has received information regarding alleged threats against the families of and the released individuals with involvement in the recent ICE investigation arrests at Load Trail. The people arrested have been processed through the federal system and are awaiting their day in court. Any threats to them or their families are totally not going to change a thing about their status or where they go from here.”
“We are not defending anyone’s choice on entering the country illegally, but it is our duty to do the best we can in protecting anyone in this country from harm.”
Some of those that were detained on Tuesday have been released and/or bonded out with a court date to appear in front of a judge.
Immigration lawyers and volunteers from Dallas are currently in Lamar County offering free legal advice to the families of those affected by the raid.
The attorney representing Load Trail, Gene Besen, denies Load Trail was exploiting workers.
“The idea that Load Trail is exploiting workers or giving American jobs away to undocumented workers is both false.”
Load Trail has a history of giving back to the community, recently donating 55 tourniquets to the Paris Police Department and a 16ft trailer to the Paris Police Officers Association.
Sources say the company has also started a fund to cover food and bills of the families of those detained.
A Go Fund Me account has also been created with almost $20,000 being donated within 24 hours.
The Iglesia Evangelica Filadelfia of Paris is among the first responders to this community crisis and is fundraising to provide legal and financial support to the more than 100 families. These families in many cases have lost the breadwinners and are in need of donations to pay basic expenses such as rent, utilities, and groceries as well as legal fees to try to keep their families together.
Continue to follow myparistexas.com for fair and unbiased complete coverage of this developing local story.