OPINION—ICE: You’re Not Welcome in the South


Last week, I dropped my kids off for their first day of school in our small Alabama town of not even 7,000 people. The kids were excited, but I was a nervous wreck.

My kids—ages 8 and 11—are my heart and joy. Would they have everything they need? Like every dad, my mind raced through a million scenarios. My oldest is starting middle school. What haven't I anticipated? What might come up and wreck his whole day, setting the tone for the school year?

None of these came close to what families faced just a few hours west from us on their first day of school. In Scott County, Miss., 650 heavily armed agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement swarmed poultry-processing facilities, arresting 680 immigrant workers. No company managers or executives were arrested or charged.

All across the county, kids came home to empty houses. Toddlers were abandoned in day care. One baby had to be sheltered in a church because both of her parents were detained. These are parents who, like me, woke up that morning, made a cup of coffee, took a brief moment to themselves before waking up the kids to lay out clothes, then made sure the kids ate breakfast and had their lunches packed.

Then they loaded their kids up with school supplies and went to put in another day of work so their children could have a better future.

They were aching to hear their kids' first-day-of-school stories: about new friends, and which teachers they did or didn't like. Just like me, they were planning dinner and the new routines to accommodate school schedules. And they were thinking ahead to the weekend, how to enjoy these final days of summer: movies they might watch, or about cooking out or going to the pool together.

None of those things are

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