Residents angry over release of illegal immigrants

Four illegal immigrants who ran from police during a traffic stop were arrested Tuesday. But they were quickly released after federal immigration agents refused to pick them up for deportation.

Mario Boone

LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The jailhouse doors flew wide open Tuesday to four illegal aliens who ran from police during a traffic stop just one day earlier.

"It's frustrating to some degree, but there's also nothing we can really do about it," said Asst. Chief Jimmy Davis with Loudon County Sheriff's Office.


The quad were among 10 suspected illegals enroute to Knoxville from Texas when their van was stopped along I-75 in Loudon County. The ordeal caused an intense manhunt which even included a Knox County sheriff's chopper.

"We don't know what type of person you're dealing with, why they're fleeing law enforcement, is there some type of narcotics, somebody that's wanted, somebody in the middle of a crime," said Davis.

Turns out Loudon sheriff's deputies did everything right. But it's when they called federal immigration agents to pick up the illegals, and what happened next that has jaws dropping across East Tennessee.

"There's just not the manpower and resources to deport every illegal immigrant that is found in the United States. It's just not possible," said Davis.

Local residents sounded off upon hearing about the releases. "I don't think it's right. They need to send those boys right back," said Greg Keener.

But county deputies lack power to deport illegals. And since the feds refused to, deputies had to cut the group loose.

"Arrest them, hold them, and send them back," said Shirley Goth.

"I think they need to get their stuff together," said Rebecca Keener.

ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez released this statement reading: "we prioritize our efforts based on those that pose the greatest threat to the community."