Immigration and Customs Enforcement says 300 workers who were detained last week in a raid in Mississippi have been released after the children of many of the workers reportedly came home from their first day of school to find their parents had been detained.
ICE says they released the workers on “humanitarian grounds.”
According to Relevant Magazine, hundreds of undocumented immigrants were taken into custody in what’s being called the “largest single-state workplace enforcement action in U.S. history.”
“Children finished their first day of school with no parents to go home to tonight,” a report from the Jackson Free Press said. “Babies and toddlers remained at daycare with no guardian to pick them up. A child vainly searched a workplace parking lot for missing parents.”
In one interview, an 11-year-old girl asked the U.S. to release the parents.
“Government please show some heart,” she said. “Let my parents be free and everyone else please don’t leave the child with cryness and everything.
“I need my dad and mommy,” she said. “My dad didn’t do anything, he’s not a criminal.”
Many of the children were taken to a local gym where neighbors had donated food and drinks for the children.
“I understand the law and how everything works and everything needs to have a system,” the gym’s owner Jordan Barnes said. “But everybody needs to hold the kids first and foremost in their minds and that’s what we’ve tried to do here is give them a place to stay and ease the pain a little bit.”
Barnes said he would allow the children to sleep at the gym overnight and would even help coordinate helping to get the children to school.
ICE said in a statement that the workers were asked when they were processed if they had children at school or daycare. ICE said they provided cell phones for parents to make pickup arrangements. They also said they released one of the parents if both parents were detained.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Handout