Trump immigration authorities detained about 680 people in Mississippi on Wednesday, according to law enforcement officials. Nearly 600 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swept seven different food processing plants in six cities in another show of ethnic cleansing by the Trump administration, this time interrupting a work day.
“The ICE raids are both dehumanizing and ineffective as a tactic for protecting citizens from potential harm,” Jackson, Mississippi, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, a Democrat, said in a statement. “The city of Jackson strongly objects to the Trump administration’s ICE raids.”
Domingo Candelaria—a worker at a plant run by poultry processor Koch Foods Inc. in Morton, Mississippi—saw the raids happen. “It was a sad situation inside,” he told the Associated Press.
ICE acting director Matthew Albence said Wednesday that people will either be deported, prosecuted, or released after an immigration court hearing.
As workers were filed onto three buses in Morton, friends and family shouted, “Let them go! Let them go!”
The Associated Press reported: “A tearful 13-year-old boy whose parents are from Guatemala waved goodbye to his mother, a Koch worker, as he stood beside his father. Some employees tried to flee on foot but were captured in the parking lot.”
Some children are returning to school as the government rips their families apart. Scott County School District Superintendent Tony McGee told the Mississippi Clarion Ledger that he was aware of at least six families in his school district affected by the raids. He said that if a school bus driver does not see parents at a child’s house, they will be brought back to the school.
“We’ll worry about the school part of it after we get all this sorted out,” he said. “You can’t expect a child to stay focused on the schoolwork when he’s trying to focus on where Mom and Dad are.”
He added: “We all know there is a bigger picture in all this. We’re not here to navigate those waters, we’re here to try to help families get together as best they can.”
He also said the district has “tried everything we can to try to reach out to parents and reassure them that school is a safe place.”
Beyond the sheer cruelty of the ICE raids on their own, it seems particularly vile that they would happen at a company where workers have been organizing to improve their conditions.