On the first day of school in Morton, Mississippi, immigration officials conducted a massive raid across seven different food processing plants in the state, arresting 680 undocumented individuals and leaving hundreds of children to return home alone.
ICE officials raided several Mississippi food processing plants today, resulting in at least 680 arrests.
Undocumented workers were loaded into buses as family and friends shouted, "Let them go! Let them go!" pic.twitter.com/PTKwpf7JZ0
— AJ+ (@ajplus) August 7, 2019
The operation, the largest in the last ten years, is believed to be the “largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in our nation’s history,” according to US Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Mike Hurst– who literally meant this as a good thing.
It also occurred less than a week after the El Paso shooting that left 22 dead and was fueled by anti-immigrant sentiment.
While Trump spoke in El Paso, ICE launched the largest raid in years arresting 680 people as crying children were taken from their parents & families separated
— Stone 🥶 (@stonecold2050) August 7, 2019
Like, what?! After immigrants were the victims of hate and unspeakable violence, you go after the immigrants and not the white supremacists?
In response to the timing of the raid, ICE officials say that the sting had been planned for more than a year– which also marks when Koch Foods Inc. was forced to pay $3.75 million to the plant, following Equal Employment Opportunities Commission class-action suit by the workers that charged the company with sexual harassment and discrimination.
This is not a coincidence. Shortly after the arrests, Canton, Mississippi Mayor William Truly asked:
“What happens to the children?”
That soon became the refrain– and there seems to be no clear answer. Lee Ann Brandon, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services, “We have no idea what the number of children is, or where they are.”
Volunteers took children (some who were actual toddlers) who had nowhere to go to makeshift shelters, including gyms and community centers, and gave out food and drinks.
Still, most children were too upset to eat, begging to see their parents and spending agonizing hours waiting for their release. According to ICE officers, some parents would be released with GPS ankle monitors (you know, like criminals) as their immigration proceedings take place.
They also reported that around 300 people had been released Thursday.
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THIS IS AWFUL. Yesterday in Mississippi, ICE arrested 600 undocumented immigrants during the work day while their kids were at school. It was the largest mass raid of ICE in American history. These were all men and women working in chicken and poultry plants. When it came time to pick the kids up, nobody came. Their parents had been detained. Strangers provided them with food and scores of kids just slept in the school gym last night. This is what our nation has come to.
When ICE conducted the largest single state raid today in Mississippi some of the children of those being taken away were nearby. They were left crying watching their parents. Strangers & neighbors comforted them. We are tearing immigrant families apart.pic.twitter.com/gof79hNnA6
— Simar (@sahluwal) August 8, 2019
In one video, a child cried for the government to have some heart, and expressed that her dad wasn’t a criminal but someone who had given everything for her to live in the U.S.
Anyone in the government who has a heart- it’s time to speak out. And it’s up to us to vote Trump out of office, along with all of his cronies who support these cruel raids. Oh yeah, and abolish ICE.
Here’s how you can help.
Anyone can call the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services at 1-800-222-8000 if they know of any children left without guardians after the raids. Plus donating food will never go out of style.
The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, Immaculate Conception Church, and multiple other organizations and initiatives are collecting donations for food. Attorneys, legal professionals, and translators looking to lend a hand can reach out too.