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Days After Attacks Targeting Latinos, ICE Arrest 700 Workers In Largest Single-State Raid In History

Culture & Community By O. Delgado5866 views
Days After Attacks Targeting Latinos, ICE Arrest 700 Workers In Largest Single-State Raid In History

680 workers at plants across Mississippi were hauled off for "processing."

"Children finished their first day of school with no parents to go home to tonight. Babies and toddlers remained at daycare with no guardian to pick them up. A child vainly searched a workplace parking lot for missing parents," reports the Jackson Free Press.

This morning in cities across Mississippi, children were starting their first day of school, and ICE was carrying out the "largest single-state worksite enforcement action in (the) nation's history," according to United States Attorney Mike Hurst's office. The raid comes just days after a series of race-based domestic terrorist attacks targeting Latinos. 

Hurst, who coordinated with ICE to arrange the raids on 7 food-processing plants, released a statement this afternoon commending the federal agents, prosecutors, and local law enforcement who participated in rounding up the "illegal aliens." "The execution of federal search warrants today was simply about enforcing the rule of law in our state and throughout our great country," the statement reads.

Unfortunately for the 680 men and women zip-tied and hauled off to a military hanger for "processing," the situation isn't so simple. The Jackson Free Press reports that workers were arrested indiscriminately; Hurst said ICE would "sort" them later. 

When one worker protested, he was knocked to the ground, handcuffed and tased before law enforcement realized that he was an American citizen.

Bill Chandler, President of MIRA, the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, says his office is fielding calls from distressed family members. "We're now trying to deal with schools because of the children that may be left behind by ICE," said Chandler.

Scared kids were left alone, crying in the street, relying on the kindness of strangers.

According to the Free Press, "Children finished their first day of school with no parents to go home to tonight. Babies and toddlers remained at daycare with no guardian to pick them up. A child vainly searched a workplace parking lot for missing parents."

"We live in these small communities. We know these folks. They coach baseball and Little League and soccer and they work in local businesses," says Cliff Johnson, director of the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law. "We live side-by-side with them and we know them and we work with them and they are our friends."

Though Hurst says the raids are in service to "our great country," Johnson says, "Mississipians do not want this."

Mississippi has one of the smallest undocumented immigrant populations in the country.  Difficult to say what threat these quiet, hardworking plant employees posed to the people of Mississippi.

"We have a situation where nobody in Mississippi who I know is crying out for hundreds of out of state agents to invade Mississippi and haul off our hardworking neighbors and friends in zip ties and busses," said Johnson.

Cities themselves have officially condemned the raids. Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba released a statement denouncing the raids as "dehumanizing and ineffective," and calling on churches and temples to protect and give sanctuary to our "immigrant neighbors."

Ali Noorani, executive director of National Immigration Forum, says that rather than securing our communities, these raids only serve to push immigrant workers further underground, fracture families, and decimate local economies.

"The American economy loses a work force that is contributing in more ways than we can imagine," Noorani says. "And, along the way, we are no safer."

 

 

 

 

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