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Mississippi ICE Raid Leaves Detainees' Children Homeless And Relying On Strangers

Following a massive ICE raid in which immigration authorities rounded up more than 650 undocumented immigrant workers in Mississippi, the children of those detainees were left homeless and dependent on the kindness of strangers, WJTV reported.

The arrests took place at seven different food processing plants throughout the state and left friends and family members scrambling to locate their missing loved ones.

The massive record-breaking undocumented immigration enforcement operation occurred on Wednesday.

YouTube | WJTV 12 News

According to CNN, some 680 people were detained by US immigration authorities in what US Attorney for the Southern District Of Mississippi Mike Hurst said is "believed to be the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in our nation's history."

He revealed the arrests were the result of administrative and criminal search warrants which were executed by Homeland Security Investigations special agents.

The children of those who were rounded up during the raid were left temporarily homeless and without their parents.

In one video posted to Facebook, a crowd gathered outside a Koch Foods plant in Morton can be seen demanding answers, with one little girl weeping as she watches people be loaded onto a bus.

The girl then asks an officer, "Please, can I just see my mother, please," as a woman explains "Her mom is her only legal guardian."

As the buses drove off with the detainees, those gathered outside the plants began to chant, "Let them go!"

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According to Washington Post, most children were expected to be sent to live with relatives or other family members while their parents were in custody. However, not all were able to make proper arrangements so quickly.

Many children returned to empty homes following the Wednesday arrests, which for many was the first day of the new school year.

In Forest, Mississippi, suddenly homeless children were taken to a community gym to stay the night. Volunteers distributed donated food and drinks, but most of the kids were much too upset to eat and continued crying for their parents.

"Government please show some heart," Magdalena Gomez Gregorio, 11, tearfully implored in an interview with WJTV. "Let my parent be free."

Canton, Mississippi mayor William Truly Jr. spoke to reporters outside a local plant that was part of the ICE raids.

YouTube | WJTV 12 News

He said he's concerned about the effect the arrests will have on the local economy, as well as on the community.

"I recognize that ICE comes under the Department of Homeland Security, and this is an order of the United States," he told CNN. "There's nothing I don't think anybody can do about it. But my main concern is now, what happens to the children?"

Thursday morning, family members flocked to plants hoping that authorities would release their loved ones.

YouTube | WJTV 12 News

ICE director Matt Albence said some of the parents who were arrested will be released and fitted with ankle monitors to wear throughout their immigration proceedings.

He also said that the agency has worked with school liaisons in the past in order to "find placement" for children left alone when their parents are detained.

Some detainees have already been released, though exact numbers have not been specified.

It's also unclear why some were released.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox assured CNN that not all of the some 680 immigrants arrested will be detained: "Any suggestion that all persons are going to be detained is not correct."

In the meantime, local organizations, like those in the community of Forest, are asking for donations for the detainees' children.

Clear Creek Boot Camp owner Jordan Barnes told WJTV that his organization and members of the community are ensuring the children have full tummies and a good place to sleep.

"I understand the law and how everything works and everything needs to have a system," he said. "But everybody needs to hold he kids first and foremost in their minds and that's what we've tried to do here is give them a place to stay and ease the pain a little bit."

Anyone looking to donate food or supplies is encouraged to call Barnes at The Clear Creek Boot Camp at (601) 940-1690.

h/t: WJTV, CNN, Washington Post

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