JACKSON—Jason Coker told a packed crowd at the NAACP offices in Jackson today to protest yesterday's immigrant raids in Mississippi that he had dropped off his 8-year-old daughter for her first day of school this morning, and his two boys took the bus to school. "As a father, it is very difficult for me to imagine how my own children would feel if I didn't come home today," he told the media. "If their mother didn't come home and they were all alone.
"I have no idea what my children would do," Coker, the field coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Mississippi, told the media. "As a religious leader, I cannot think of anywhere in our holy scriptures where this sort of thing would be OK. In fact, how scriptures tell us just the opposite."
The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance hosted the press conference in response to multiple ICE workplace raids on Aug. 7 in which 650 special Homeland Security Investigation special agents executed unspecified administrative and criminal search warrants at seven sites in Canton, Morton, Pelahatchie, Bay Springs, Walnut Grove and Carthage in Mississippi. The raid resulted in the detention of 680 undocumented immigrants.
Advocates, supporters, local leaders and organizations, some from Raleigh, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga., came out in solidarity of the undocumented immigrants and in support of MIRA's efforts to protect immigrants in Mississippi.
Attorney Patricia Ice, director of the MIRA Legal Project, said she was sorry that people even had to be here and made reference to a large Department of Homeland Security immigrant raid that took place at Howard Industries, an electronic manufacturing plant, in 2008 in Laurel, Miss.
"I'm still working with people who are still affected by that raid all these years later. These types of events have long lasting effects, and it is devastating for our