News Articles

Mississippi Prepares us for the Future

ICE Agent Vest
By Jim Sliney Jr.

On August 7th in Mississippi, ICE raided several food-processing plants. Nearly 700 arrests were made of undocumented workers. The raids also included scrutiny of the businesses that hired the allegedly undocumented labor force.

NPR reports a statement by Julia Solorzano, an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center who said, “…immigration agencies that have repeatedly blamed 'over-capacity' detention-facilities for the horrific treatment of those imprisoned nevertheless detained more than 600 people today," And in fact, those arrested were bussed into a Mississippi National Guard airplane hangar.

ARREST THE ADULTS – WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?

In the aftermath of these arrests, children suddenly found themselves without access to their parents. A reporter from 12 News visited the area where the hundreds were detained and reported that children, “some as young as toddlers were relying on neighbors and even strangers to pick them up outside their homes after school.” This raid occurred on the first day of school for these children.

Throughout all the immigration actions imposed by federal authorities on migrant families, it seems the fate and welfare of the children affected has been overlooked. Was it intentional or thoughtless to leave children to fend for themselves on the first day of school while their parents were carted off in coordinated police actions? Neither would be right or good.

ICE RELEASES SOME PARENTS

Perhaps in response to the heartless optics, ICE spokesperson Brian Cox says everyone who was taken into custody was asked if they had young children and that cell phones were made available so parents could make arrangements. Then on August 8th, Homeland Security Investigations reported that 270 of the arrested workers were released back to where they were detained and that an additional 30 of the arrested were released for “humanitarian grounds”. Presumably, these people were screened by law enforcement and found not to be a threat in the eyes of Homeland Security.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CHILD IS SUDDENLY WITHOUT A FAMILY?

Coincidentally, Catholic Charities of New York and Univision (Noticias 41), El Diario, NYLag, the Legal Aid Society, NYS Office for New Americans, and the Mayor's Office for Immigration Affairs just held a live, televised phone bank to discuss precisely this issue. The goal was to teach immigrants about their legal rights concerning the care and guardianship of their children. The outstanding concern of course – what will happen to my children if I am taken away?

In this cooperative effort, guardianship and many related questions were discussed. Further questions will also be answered in future legal “Know Your Rights” televised phone banks.

While the priority of ICE and Homeland Security are on protecting America from the threat of hard-working, poor immigrant families, rest assured that Catholic Charities of New York and its friends and associates are keeping kindness, patience, and charity as their priority.