Authorities have detained 680 illegal immigrants in six cities around Mississippi on this past Wednesday, a record setting statistic, and over 600 ICE agents made these arrests. For many, it was the first day of the new school year, so some children of illegal immigrants were returning home to no parents; other immigrants had been arrested at different companies that worked with ICE to arrest the individuals. For example, Koch Foods and Pearl River Foods and ““seven agricultural processing plants across Mississippi” all had employees who were arrested during the raid on Wednesday.
“The men and women taken by the raid are our neighbors,” the groups said in a statement released at the news conference. “Mississippi did not ask for this raid. In fact we stand strongly against it.”
The raid is occurring only days after the mass shooting targeting hispanic people in the 85% hispanic border city of El Paso. In a statement, Attorney Ms. Solórzano commented on the odd timing of the raids and how she strongly disagrees with them taking place. “Today’s raids are part of the ongoing war against immigrant families and the communities in which they live … 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.” Ms. Solórzano also pointed out that the detention centers have succeeded their maximum capacity, yet ICE are still making arrests with no place to safely house people. It is likely that they will be living in bad, cramped conditions like the other detainees.
However, an ICE official said this was in no way in connection or in response to the El Paso shooting. “This was planned for months. Well before El Paso, well before the shootings happened,” the official said. “The dates just happened to be after El Paso. On our end, this was months and months of planning by intel agents, locals. We did this under past presidents. This is business as usual for us.”
When asked if the officials had any concern for the children who would not be returning to parents after the first day of school, one official said, “I do know it was a concern that came up,” the source said. “We had our community liaison officer to alert school administrators on the day of that it was happening, working with the schools saying students’ parents may be detained.”