ICE Raids Poultry Plant in Largest Single-State Raid in History (Video)

In June, Donald Trump instilled fear in thousands after announcing mass Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and round-ups of undocumented Americans.

Then in a classic reality show-style bait and switch to appear bi-partisan, he abruptly canceled them, claiming:

“At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start!”

The House of Representatives then passed 305-102 the Senate’s less restrictive version of an emergency humanitarian aid bill some criticize House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for capitulating to the GOP.

Despite compromise, however, the Trump administration again planned last month to round up 2,000 people in homes and workplaces in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco, instilling fear in thousands.

Those too did not come to fruition.

Last week, when people’s guards were down, ICE descended on seven Mississippi poultry processing plants in what is being called the largest single-state immigration raid in U.S. history.

Probably not coincidentally, the raids targeted workers who fought for better working conditions.

Last year the company paid out $3.75 million to settle an Equal Employment Opportunities Commission class-action suit for sexual harassment, national origin and race discrimination, and retaliation against Latino workers.

ICE presented reporters video showing agents leading people out in plastic handcuffs, frisking them, and loading them onto buses where they were then transported to a Mississippi National Guard hangar for processing. 

Moreover, the raids were timed to coincide with Mississippi children’s first day of school, leading to some students returning home to locked doors and empty residences.

Mississippi’s local WJTV reported:

“Many children of those arrested across the state are now left homeless with nowhere to go. These children were relying on neighbors and even strangers to pick them up outside their homes after school and drive them to a community fitness center where people tried to keep them calm. But many kids could not stop crying for mom and dad.”

ProPublica reporter Dara Lind tweeted that this is moment children of immigrants have been fearing since Trump announced intentions to create a “deportation force.”

That time is now upon us.

Lind added:

“I’ve spoken to school employees in cities where there were no raids, saying that sometimes kids came in midday asking to call and see if parents were still home.”

The Jackson Free Press  reported:

“Babies and toddlers remained at daycare with no guardian to pick them up. A child vainly searched a workplace parking lot for missing parents.”

Condemning the raids as “dehumanizing,” Jackson, Mississippi Mayor Chokwe Lumumba said:

“I’m calling upon faith institutions in our community to become sanctuaries for our immigrant neighbors and protect them from potential harm. The City of Jackson strongly objects to the Trump administration’s ICE raids.”

Calling the massive raids “an act of terrorism” against immigrant communities, Deputy Executive Director of @UNITEDWEDREAM, Greisa Martínez Rosas tweeted:

“Just days after the El Paso massacre where a gun wielding maniac parroted Trump’s anti-immigrant hate, a battalion of ICE agents abducted 680 Latinx and immigrant men and women on Trump’s orders. For anyone who tries to desensitize the situation or blur the connections between the acts of terror this week I call bullshit. Latinx and immigrant kids and families have been terrorized this week. It is time for both parties in Congress to stop giving ICE and [Customs and Border Protection] billions of dollars and to hold them accountable. ICE and CBP are the armed, taxpayer funded extension of Trump’s anti-immigrant hate and must be stopped.

The Guardian reported dozens of children, some as young as toddlers, were picked up from school and transferred to makeshift shelters.

Lea Anne Brandon, Mississippi’s department of child protection services, told the New York Times her agency has no idea how many children were taken or where they are.

Donald Trump’s war on immigrants and their children just hit a new, awful low–if that were even possible.

In the two and half years since Trump promised his Gestapo deportation force, ICE has started using DNA testing technology to identify migrants posing as families in order to gain entry to the United States at seven locations along the U.S./Mexico Southern border.

It is been mining without warrants or subpoenas millions of Utah, New York, Vermont, and Washington drivers’ license photos for possible facial recognition matches in an attempt to ensnare undocumented immigrants.

It has stalked immigrants in human trafficking court.

It has led to several asylum seekers’ deaths in its custody.

It and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have been responsible for harassing journalists, lawyers, and activists for meeting with or aiding asylum seekers from the Honduran caravan on the Mexican side of the border.

It has led to the death of a Salvadoran transgender woman

It has perpetrated what democratic presidential candidates have cited as kidnapping in its separation of children from their parents. 

It is guilty of running concentration camps where prisoners are held in horrific conditions without being charged for crimes and in which what the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics describes as tantamount to “government-sanctioned child abuse” where incarcerated children are being injected with psychotropic drugs that inflict dizziness, lethargy, and sometimes incapacitation.

Since ICE has become the new Gestapo–and we know how that turned out in Europe during the 1930s and 40s–we all need to know our rights, immigrant or natural-born citizen alike. 

Click here for instructions on what to do if ICE comes snooping around.

Pass them on.

They could save a life.

Maybe yours.

Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News, Liberal Nation Rising, and Zoedune.