The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted their largest ever raid in one state in one day, capturing 680 illegal aliens from food processing facilities in Mississippi.
The agency completed the operation of Koch Foods, Inc. and Peco Foods, Inc. facilities with some 600 officers, calling it “the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in our nation’s history,” according to Fox News on Wednesday.
In addition to executing federal search warrants & seizing business records pertaining to the ongoing federal criminal investigation, deportation officers with ICE ERO in partnership with HSI detained approximately 680 removable aliens who were unlawfully working at the plants pic.twitter.com/JORXd7NAYy
— ICE (@ICEgov) August 8, 2019
“All the unlawfully present foreign nationals arrested Wednesday are being interviewed by ICE staff to record any potential mitigating humanitarian situations,” ICE said in a statement.
The raids detained all workers at facilities in Bay Springs, Carthage, Canton, Morton, Pelahatchie and Sebastapol suspected of having illegal status, and releasing all who could prove legal status.
“Based on these interviews, and consideration of their criminality and prior immigration history, ICE is determining on a case-by-case basis based on the totality of the circumstances which individuals will be detained and which persons may be released from custody at present,” ICE’s statement added.
This HSI-led operation was conducted in coordination with the @SDMSNews, of which @USAttyHurst will prosecute any resulting federal criminal charges. https://t.co/R1jQoGwuuB pic.twitter.com/POqqgfMkdz
— ICE (@ICEgov) August 8, 2019
Illegal immigrants at just one facility in Morton filled three buses. Legal workers described it as a “sad situation” while friends and family of those detained demanded their release.
“The execution of federal search warrants today was simply about enforcing the rule of law in our state and throughout our great country,” U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said in a statement reported by Fox News. “I commend these federal agents, our state and local law enforcement partners, and our federal prosecutors for their professionalism and dedication to ensure that those who violate our laws are held accountable.”
“Today, through the hard work of these men and women, we are once again becoming a nation of laws,” Hurst added, as WTXL reported.
The immigrants were taken to a Mississippi National Guard hangar in Flowood where 2,000 meals were set up during processing.
“I’ve never done anything like this,” Chris Heck, resident agent in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit in Jackson, told The Associated Press. “This is a very large worksite operation.”
The raids came weeks after President Trump ordered nationwide deportation raids of illegal aliens after Democrats failed to agree upon an immigration reform bill that he had called for.
“Unauthorized workers often use stolen identities of legal U.S. workers, which can profoundly damage for years the identity-theft victim’s credit, medical records and other aspects of their everyday life,” ICE’s statement noted.