Sunday, August 11, 2019

Ankle monitors and informants: How ICE chose the 7 Mississippi food plants to raid

The human impacts of immigration raids in Mississippi have caught the nation's attention.

Jimmie E. Gates and Alissa Zhu, Mississippi Clarion Ledger offer some insights, based on court documents submitting by the U.S. govbernment to secure search warrants, about how the immigration enforcement operation worked. 

According to the report, over more than a decade, hundreds of undocumented workers across the country told federal officials that they worked at food processing plants in Mississippi. In some instances, immigrants were released from detention with ankle monitors while awaiting removal proceedings. Authorities tracking their GPS coordinates were able to see they were coming and going from Mississippi food processing plants.

Later, hundreds of immigration officiers raided seven Mississippi plants owned by four companies. They are suspected of "willfully and unlawfully employing" undocumented workers, unsealed search warrants say. Workers reported hearing the roar of helicopters and seeing agents round up mostly Latino workers for questioning. Many wept as they waved goodbye to their family and friends being taken away on buses for processing. A total of 680 people were arrested. Of those, about 300 were released the same day, according to U.S. officials. Those who remain in detention are being held in a ICE facility in Louisiana.

As for the employers, no fines or arrests have taken place, though federal officials say investigations into the companies are ongoing.

The raids and arrests have had impacts on the Mississippi communities where the food processing plants are located.  For some pictures, click here.


According to an employee, early Wednesday morning, Aug. 7, 2019, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials surrounded the area around Koch Foods in Morton, not allowing Latino employees into work. Koch was one of seven poultry plants raided in Mississippi Wednesday. Barbara Gauntt/Clarion Ledger


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