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

Article Image

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.

Confirmed Cases: 33068

Reported Deaths: 2068
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9524558
Lake3494175
Cass15897
Allen141966
St. Joseph122134
Hendricks114268
Hamilton113292
Elkhart110128
Johnson1092106
Madison58459
Porter50522
Bartholomew49034
Clark47941
LaPorte42022
Tippecanoe3823
Howard37824
Delaware37636
Jackson3721
Shelby36822
Hancock32727
Floyd31739
Boone30535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2592
Montgomery23417
White2308
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Noble20421
Grant19721
Dubois1903
Harrison18921
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16512
Warrick16528
Dearborn16521
Vigo1538
Lawrence15223
Miami1401
Putnam1357
Jennings1294
Orange12422
Scott1203
Ripley1106
Franklin1098
Kosciusko1011
Carroll933
Daviess8416
Steuben812
Marshall801
Newton7610
Wayne756
Fayette747
Wabash742
LaGrange682
Jasper661
Washington511
Jay490
Fulton471
Clay461
Rush452
Randolph453
Jefferson431
Pulaski410
Whitley383
Owen351
Sullivan341
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke323
Perry280
Wells270
Benton260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford222
Parke190
Spencer191
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0161

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33915

Reported Deaths: 2098
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5566253
Cuyahoga4211226
Marion264225
Hamilton2555135
Lucas2178240
Pickaway204836
Mahoning1397173
Summit1335172
Butler84728
Stark70591
Columbiana68451
Lorain66759
Montgomery63717
Trumbull55147
Belmont41212
Miami35230
Warren35119
Tuscarawas3373
Ashtabula32434
Portage31857
Medina31322
Delaware31013
Lake29012
Wood28246
Geauga27231
Wayne26049
Fairfield2515
Clark2345
Licking22210
Allen20632
Clermont2025
Mercer2016
Richland1933
Erie1656
Darke16221
Madison1487
Washington11819
Crawford1103
Morrow1041
Greene1015
Ottawa9312
Putnam8814
Monroe7512
Sandusky7211
Hocking694
Ross672
Jefferson662
Auglaize653
Huron561
Williams511
Hancock512
Union491
Muskingum480
Clinton430
Hardin420
Shelby403
Fayette390
Wyandot382
Logan370
Fulton370
Coshocton370
Guernsey340
Defiance332
Preble331
Carroll303
Lawrence290
Holmes291
Brown281
Champaign271
Knox231
Highland221
Seneca202
Vinton192
Ashland190
Athens181
Perry181
Henry150
Scioto150
Jackson130
Paulding130
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Van Wert60
Pike60
Meigs60
Noble50
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Broken Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 66°
Angola
Broken Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 64°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 65°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 64°
Van Wert
Broken Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 64°
Scattered Showers & Storms Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events