Thursday, August 8, 2019
Yesterday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted raids in Mississippi. CNN reported that "It was the first day of school in Morton, Mississippi, Wednesday, and many undocumented parents and their children went together to the first morning drop off, said Elizabeth Iraheta. By the end of the day, some of those children were all alone, she said. . . . . US immigration authorities arrested about 680 undocumented immigrants at seven sites in six different cities in Mississippi on Wednesday. The raids are `believed to be the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in our nation's history,' said US Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Mike Hurst. Officials declined to provide details about what sites had been targeted, citing what they said was an ongoing criminal investigation. CNN affiliates reported the raids occurred at food processing plants throughout the state."
HAPPENING NOW: In Forrest, Mississippi where one of the #ICE raids happened nearby Children of those who were arrested are left alone in the streets crying for help. Strangers and neighbors are taking them to a local gym to be put up for the night. FULL STORY TONIGHT ON @WJTV. pic.twitter.com/s2zuTTRYfM— Alex Love (@AlexLoveWJTV) August 8, 2019
Here is the ICE press statement on the raids:
“Today’s raids are part of the ongoing war against immigrant families and the communities in which they live. These sorts of raids terrorize workers and their families. What’s more, today’s raids needlessly ripped parents from their children during the first week of school.
“It is especially sickening that days after immigrants were targeted by a gunman in El Paso, Texas, workers at plants across Mississippi witnessed armed agents descending on their workplace.
“It’s also worth noting that immigration agencies that have repeatedly blamed ‘over capacity’ detention facilities for the horrific treatment of those imprisoned nevertheless detained more than 600 people today.
“Our attorneys and advocates are closely monitoring the situation and exploring options to assist those impacted.”
UPDATE (Aug. 9): ABC News reports that several hundred individuals arrested during an immigration roundup across Mississippi earlier this week, leaving children without parents in some cases, have been released, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman said. Young children were seen crying on local news video about being separated from their mothers and fathers. Children of adults detained in the raids were taken to local elementary schools until they could be reunited with extended family members. ICE Southern Region Communications Director Bryan Cox defended the agency's handling of the matter, saying as arrests were made, those detained were allowed to make arrangements to have their children picked up and that schools were notified. Immigration advocates condemned the raids, and focused on the children of those set to be deported.
It reportedly was the first day of school. Critics claimed that ICE had not planned for addressing the impacts of the raids on children whose parents were arrested.
In 2007, then-Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick protested the impacts of a workplace raid in New Bedford, Massachusetts because of the arrest and detention of parents, forcing them to abandon their children.