In the wake of the ICE raid on a poultry facility in Mississippi two weeks ago, the families that had their lives uprooted continue to endure trauma. One of those affected by the raid, which caused the detainment of 680 workers, is a 4-month old baby and her mother.
Maria Domingo-Garcia was one of those detained on August 7 at the Koch Foods in Morton, Mississippi. She’s also a wife and mom to three small children including an 11-year-old, a 3-year-old and her baby, who she was still breastfeeding until U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents abruptly detained her.
ICE spokesman Bryan Cox told CNN that every person that is detained would undergo a medical evaluation, and said many people were released for different reasons — one of them if a woman tells officials she’s currently breastfeeding. However, Cox alleges that Domingo-Garcia was asked if she was breastfeeding to which she replied no. But the mom and her attorney say she was never asked that question.
“ICE is, once again, lying,” Ray Ybarra Maldonado, Domingo-Garcia’s lawyer, said to CNN. “She said nobody’s asked her — not even one time — if she’s been breastfeeding. Can you imagine having a 4-month-old baby and being ripped away from that baby, unsure of who is taking care of her?” he said. “She’s devastated.”
Now Domingo-Garcia’s husband is in charge of taking care of three kids and bottle-feeding their youngest, while their mom is 200 miles away in another state.
When the initial raid went down two weeks ago, immigration officials released almost half of those detained. ICE called the release “humanitarian” because they asked each person arrested if they had kids and if so, were they the sole person in charge of them. If they were, they’d be released. Others were released because they were minors.
The emotional and physical trauma that Domingo-Garcia and her family are currently enduring is tragic and torture. She is still producing breastmilk but can’t feed her baby, which means she’s in extreme pain. Her lawyers say she’s always asking when she will see her baby. The first few months of a baby’s life is crucial to their development.
So clearly, whatever “humanitarian” points ICE was trying to get by releasing only some of the people can be thrown on the window because they forgot to release at least one other person. Her name is Maria Domingo-Garcia.