/In record-breaking workplace raid, immigration officials claim parents released first

In record-breaking workplace raid, immigration officials claim parents released first

Immigration officials processed 680 people Wednesday in a military hangar. They were caught up in “the largest single state immigration enforcement operation in the nation’s history”, according to U.S. attorney Mike Hurst. He said that they asked each detainee one question: Is there a child in their custody? Federal immigration officials sent an email confirming that based on these answers, they would first process children and then continue detaining those without children. As of Thursday, nearly 400 people had yet to be released. Mississippi Today reviewed the letter and found the following information: This information was taken from Matthew Allen’s email on Wednesday, just before midnight. He informed federal agencies of the policies in place to “to address any contingency of our arrestedes having dependent children that require care for.” It is not known if the Department of Homeland Security agents followed those policies. Mississippi’s child welfare agency claimed that federal immigration officials hadn’t reached them since the raid. Child Protection Services learned about the raid Wednesday from the media in the same way that most Mississippians. Hurst’s Office in collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement gave a more detailed overview of the raid to the media on Thursday. Hurst also stated that 30 people were released Wednesday and that another 270 people were released from Pearl National Guard Base. This is contrary to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s policy, which was created under the George W. Bush Administration in 2007 to minimize harm to children detained during immigration raids. The raid was planned by federal officials for over a year. U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss), who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, criticised the agency for failing to put protections in place first. “Despite the time it took to plan the raid, ICE appears to have intentionally ignored its own guidelines regarding minimizing the impact on children or vulnerable populations. Today, hundreds of children live without their parents. Thompson stated in an email statement that this is yet another example of family separation and a sad common thread in the Administration’s cruel immigration policy. Photos of children who had their parents detained and being held in a shelter were circulated as news spread about the raid that took place in six cities. CPS worked behind the scenes to fill in the gaps. They were unaware of the policy and how many children were left without caregivers. School principals directed school bus drivers who dropped off children at school on their first day to return the children to school if their parents were not home. Lea Anne Brandon (communications director for Child Protection Services) stated that “CPS was very shocked and concerned.” Brandon said that they were not notified in advance and have not received any request or notification from ICE. “The federal government has not communicated at all with us in this instance.” Child Protection Services notified all six counties in which people were detained on Wednesday. They immediately sent out a notification request via social media and television asking for anyone with information about a child who was affected by the raid, to contact them. This bypassed the normal screening process. Brandon stated that no child had been sent to Child Protection Services as of Thursday morning. “We had hundreds upon hundreds of beds available – not only in these counties, but also in the surrounding counties.” Brandon explained to Mississippi Today that they had enough beds available to care for the children if they needed them.