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Anti-Immigrant Vitriol Complicates Vaccine Rollout in Southern States

February 16, 2021

In eastern Tennessee, doctors have seen firsthand how a hard-line immigration policy can affect the health and well-being of a community.

In 2018, federal agents raided a meatpacking plant in Morristown, a manufacturing hub in the Tennessee Valley, and detained nearly 100 workers they suspected of being in the country illegally. In the weeks that followed, scores of immigrant families who had found work in the meat-processing plants dotting broader Hamblen County scrambled to find sanctuary in churches — and scrupulously avoided seeking medical care.

The reason? Immigration agents were staking out clinics.

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