The massive raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers at Mississippi food-processing plants earlier this month has separated a young mother from her nursing 4-month-old daughter, the Clarion Ledger reports.
The mom, arrested at Koch Foods in Morton, where she had worked for four years, is now being held in a Louisiana facility while her husband cares for the couple’s three children and continues to work. He faces his own deportation hearing, but not until 2021, according to the Ledger, which didn’t reveal the identities of the parents, who fear reprisals.
All three children, who were born in the U.S., are American citizens.
Nearly 700 people were arrested in the raids, but some 300 were later released on humanitarian grounds. Many had young children. They were given notices to appear before immigration judges.
The father of the family has only spoken on the phone once with his wife, who has no money for calls. He tried to reassure her. “I will take care of the children and I will find out how the lawyers could help ... so don’t worry. You are not alone,” he told her, the Ledger reported.
She “had this lost look,” Dalila Reynoso, an advocate with Justice For Our Neighbors, told the newspaper after visiting the woman. “She hasn’t seen her children. She doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring.”
ICE officials were lashed for taking no measures to deal with children in families affected by the raids. Many children were simply left abandoned when both parents were arrested.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), head of the House Homeland Security Committee, accused acting ICE chief Matthew Albence of using an underhanded strategy to put into effect “another form of family separation” that President Donald Trump has intended all along for immigrants. Thompson called the “chaos” of the raids for children outrageous and “unacceptable.”