JACKSON, Miss.—Both parents are now jobless in some immigrant families in Mississippi after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided six worksites across the state on Wednesday, detaining nearly 700 people who ICE claims are undocumented.
Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance organizer Luis Espinoza told the Jackson Free Press on Thursday that he had spent the past two days working with the families. In some cases, both a mother and a father worked at the same food processing plant, but on alternating shifts so one could stay home and care for the child while the other worked.
"In most of the cases now, the father was working and has been detained," said Espinoza, who has been working with families in Canton just north of the capital city, one of the cities ICE targeted for raids.
U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, who fronted the ICE operation to media, said ICE released 300 workers Thursday, including many parents who were swept up in the raids.
"But even if they have been released, they cannot go back to work because the plant is going to say, 'No. We don't want any problems anymore,'" Espinoza said.
Even if they could, the parents who were not at work at the time of the raids are afraid of going back to work. Not all parents were released, and if another raid happened at the facility, or another workplace, it could leave the children with neither parent.
For those families, though, even if a parent has been released, they suddenly have no income, leaving them with no way to pay rent, buy groceries or get medicines.
"Right now, the community (members) are helping each other," Espinoza said, explaining that MIRA is working with churches and other organizations in the targeted cities to help get food and other resources to the distressed families.
MIRA is also working to