Several children in Mississippi woke up today without their parents. If the U.S. government claims it’s not separating families, yesterday’s immigration raid — which saw the detainment of 680 people — is a clear indication they never stopped.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted several raids at plants in Mississippi that led to the most massive single-day raid in the U.S. yet. The detainment of primarily Latinx people came on the same day President Donald Trump visited Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas — the site of two mass shootings that left many communities of color mourning for the death of their loved ones.
According to CNN, the raids that happened yesterday are “believed to be the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in our nation’s history.”
Heartbreaking images from Mississippi in the aftermath of the ICE raids flooded social media, showing children crying, alone, and confused about the whereabouts of their parent’s following their arrest by ICE.
“Government, please show some heart,” an 11-year-old girl said according to WJTV. “Let my parent be free and everyone else, please don’t leave the child with cryness [sic] and everything.”
ICE did raids in Mississippi today, at big named chicken plants here. This is sad, especially hitting so close to home. They are literally taking people by the bus loads. What’s even worse, school just started back so a lot of children don’t even know their parents gone. pic.twitter.com/HwoAZztXPx
— AJ the Poet (@kingXaj) August 7, 2019
Reports say it was also the first day of school for many children in the state. Local reporters said that community members took the now orphaned children to a gym — creating a makeshift shelter — where they spent the night. “I need my dad and mommy,” another child said. “My dad didn’t do anything. He’s not a criminal.”
Christina Peralta told WJTV that she knew some of the people that were detained and said none of them had a criminal record. She added that they had lived in the U.S. around ten to 15 years.
“While we are a nation of immigrants, more than that, first and foremost, we are a nation of laws,” U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst of the Southern District of Mississippi, said according to NBC News. “They have to come here legally, or they shouldn’t come here at all.”
Clear Creek Boot Camp owner Jordan Barnes told WJTV that they would provide food and shelter for the kids at least for last night. They said they’d also give them a ride to school the following day.
But what will happen to them after today and the next day? The trauma that Latinx children will endure for the rest of their lives is unmeasurable. As we continue to mourn all the loss of lives from the past week of mass shootings, we are reminded time and time again that Trump and his administration will continue issuing his racist agenda that will further divide a nation that’s already deep in crisis.