Yesterday, ICE agents swept through six cities in Mississippi in a series of targeted raids on agricultural processing plants, arresting approximately 680 people. Per the Washington Post, officials are calling it the “largest single-state workplace enforcement action in U.S. history.”
The raids happened the same day Trump visited El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were murdered this weekend by a white supremacist targeting, according to his own writings, immigrants and Hispanic people.
It was also planned for what was for many, their children’s first day of school. There are videos of children left crying alone after their parents were arrested. There are reports of children coming home from their first day of school to locked doors. According to the Daily Beast, schools have stepped up to make sure those children are safe and cared for. One Superintendent instructed school bus drivers to get a “visual reference to a parent or guardian” before dropping children off in empty homes. Students whose parents had been arrested were bused back to schools where teachers were reportedly taking care of them.
The children of the people arrested in yesterday’s #ICEraids in Mississippi spent the night in a local gym where food and drinks were donated. They were left traumatized with no one to care for them-some come home from school and were locked out. (photos via @AlexLoveWJTV) pic.twitter.com/hM7EG8A5YS
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) August 8, 2019
ICE officials have said that these raids had been planned for months. But they apparently didn’t have any sort of plan for what would happen to those children after they separated them from their parents. It’s only due to the kindness of teachers, school administrators, and other volunteers that they’re safe.
Twitter is full of people talking about how they feel sorry for these children but that their parents shouldn’t have committed a crime if they didn’t want this to happen. Obviously, that’s an incredibly callous and privileged response, but it’s also just a total display of ignorance. Crossing the border illegally or overstaying a visa is a misdemeanor crime, and one meant to be handled in immigration court.
Inflicting this level of trauma on children is not proportionate to a misdemeanor offense. (Illegal re-entry is a felony, but those going full Javert on this issue are lumping nearly 700 immigrants together with no regard for the actual crime being committed. Similarly, I would guess these are the same people who refuse to recognize that seeking asylum–and crossing the border outside of a designated point of entry to do so–is not a crime at all.)
ICE has said that these raids focused on immigrants with criminal backgrounds and that the others caught up in the sweep were “collateral” arrests. But nearly 700 people at seven work sites is far too many to reasonably call collateral. This was deliberate.
It’s also telling that the outrage over hundreds of allegedly undocumented immigrants existing in the U.S. seems to far outweigh any anger towards those profiting off of their work.
— Amy Feldman (@amyfeldman) August 7, 2019
If you have ever said the words “immigrants are taking our jobs” you must immediately report to Jackson, MS. There are 680 chicken factory jobs waiting for you. #ICEraids #TrumpAdministration #MississippiRaids
— TexasBrit (@britishemily78) August 8, 2019
If 700 white Trump voters don’t show up tomorrow morning to work their new job at the Koch chicken factory then I call bullshit. #MississippiRaids
— Sean Kent (@seankent) August 8, 2019
If conservatives actually believed the “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” bullshit they love to preach they wouldn’t cheer ICE arresting 700 hardworking immigrant taxpayers who held down economy-boosting jobs most native-born Americans would refuse to even consider. #ICEraids
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) August 8, 2019
This most definitely won’t be the last raid of this kind, so whether you’re directly affected by these immigration sweeps or just want to be an informed ally, make sure you know your rights if ever confronted or witnessing someone confronted by ICE (here’s a great resource), as well as the ways in which you can help.
CONCLUSION: ICE will lie and overstretch in order to meet their objective — destroy and separate families.
That is why it’s so important that:
1️⃣ You don’t open the door
— Juan Escalante (@JuanSaaa) August 8, 2019
— RAICES (@RAICESTEXAS) August 8, 2019
— Ana Maria E. Tyrrell (@anamariatyrrell) August 8, 2019
(image: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
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