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With 680 undocumented immigrants arrested across Mississippi, one mayor asks 'What happens to the children?'

A major operation in Mississippi with nearly 700 undocumented immigrants taken into custody.

Posted: Aug 8, 2019 8:50 AM
Updated: Aug 8, 2019 8:50 AM

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.

Iraheta shared a Facebook video she recorded outside a plant in Morton that showed an 11-year-old girl sobbing and begging an officer for a chance to see her mother as bystanders tried to comfort her.

It was devastating, Iraheta said, to see family and friends suffering "just for coming to work hard in this country, and to see so many families separated."

In Forest, strangers and neighbors volunteered to take children with nowhere to go after their guardians were taken in the raid to a local gym for the night, according to CNN affiliate WJTV. Volunteers distributed donated food and drinks but most children sobbed rather than ate, the station reported.

William Truly Jr., the mayor of Canton, one of the cities where raids took place, told reporters Wednesday that the arrests are an order of the US, and so he doesn't think there is anything that can be done to stop it.

"But my main concern is now, what happens to the children?" he told reporters outside a processing plant owned by Peco Foods Inc.

Laws and their enforcement 'not new'

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has stepped up worksite enforcement since President Donald Trump took office, conducting a number of large-scale raids at food-processing plants and gardening centers in recent years.

"These are not new laws, nor is the enforcement of them new," acting ICE director Matt Albence said Wednesday.

"The arrests today were the result of a year-long criminal investigation. And the arrests and warrants that were executed today are just another step in that investigation."

Albence told reporters Wednesday that some parents will be released and placed on ankle monitoring throughout their immigration proceedings and that in the past the agency has worked with school liaisons to help "find placement" for children when their parents are detained.

Some people have already been released

By Wednesday night, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox told CNN that some of the people detained had been released.

Officials have not specified why some were released.

"Any suggestion that all persons are going to be detained is not correct," Cox said.

Other detainees are still being processed, he said.

Confidential informants helped in raids

A senior immigration official with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that ICE used confidential informants employed at several of the raided food processing plants to identify managers or supervisors who knew they were hiring undocumented workers. In some cases, immigration enforcement received audio and video recordings.

CNN has reached out to the food processing plants for comment.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 726600

Reported Deaths: 13379
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion992781737
Lake53359964
Allen40387675
St. Joseph35449550
Hamilton35440408
Elkhart28376439
Tippecanoe22336217
Vanderburgh22271396
Porter18637306
Johnson17876377
Hendricks17154314
Clark12919191
Madison12574339
Vigo12426245
Monroe11845169
LaPorte11773210
Delaware10615185
Howard9859215
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Hancock8239140
Bartholomew8042155
Warrick7766155
Floyd7645177
Grant7019174
Wayne7018199
Boone6669101
Morgan6547139
Dubois6148117
Marshall6000111
Dearborn578577
Cass5780105
Henry5681102
Noble558283
Jackson500472
Shelby489496
Lawrence4492120
Gibson434391
Harrison434271
Clinton426853
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Montgomery423388
Whitley394439
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Steuben382957
Miami380266
Knox371890
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Washington239532
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Jay191830
Carroll188120
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Newton107034
Brown101541
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Benton98414
Martin87815
Warren81415
Switzerland7848
Union70710
Ohio56211
Unassigned0413

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1080121

Reported Deaths: 19344
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1254981392
Cuyahoga1115202107
Hamilton798171200
Montgomery512711012
Summit46997933
Lucas41982782
Butler38273580
Stark32190907
Lorain24910480
Warren24249297
Mahoning21474586
Lake20586368
Clermont19727238
Delaware18496131
Licking16396210
Fairfield16144199
Trumbull15996466
Medina15233262
Greene15027244
Clark13960297
Wood13056188
Portage12806201
Allen11609231
Richland11308198
Miami10659215
Muskingum8795132
Wayne8777210
Columbiana8756229
Pickaway8547121
Marion8511135
Tuscarawas8467243
Erie7859154
Hancock6900126
Ross6835152
Ashtabula6777169
Geauga6665148
Scioto6398101
Belmont5856167
Union570047
Lawrence5542102
Jefferson5511151
Huron5422119
Darke5344122
Sandusky5330120
Seneca5268121
Athens518258
Washington5148109
Auglaize488484
Mercer480185
Shelby468593
Knox4479110
Madison435461
Putnam4268100
Ashland421289
Fulton420969
Defiance418997
Crawford3965106
Brown392957
Logan381176
Preble379098
Clinton370561
Ottawa366279
Highland353861
Williams338075
Champaign330458
Guernsey315453
Jackson312051
Perry294550
Morrow283839
Fayette281449
Hardin270364
Henry268166
Coshocton264258
Holmes2590101
Van Wert242863
Pike237433
Adams237052
Gallia235048
Wyandot230654
Hocking215162
Carroll191247
Paulding172440
Meigs144639
Noble133337
Monroe131942
Morgan108323
Harrison107537
Vinton82415
Unassigned02
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We'll start Friday off dry, but the chance of rain returns. Scattered showers will be possible by late morning until the evening.
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