Elected Officials, Advocacy Groups, Others Address Mississippi ICE Raids | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Elected Officials, Advocacy Groups, Others Address Mississippi ICE Raids

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (left), a Republican, and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (right), the frontrunner to become the GOP nominee for governor later this month, have both tweeted full support for ICE and U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst for their workplace immigrant raids across Mississippi on Aug. 7. File photo.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (left), a Republican, and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (right), the frontrunner to become the GOP nominee for governor later this month, have both tweeted full support for ICE and U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst for their workplace immigrant raids across Mississippi on Aug. 7. File photo.

Since ICE and U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst's office yesterday raided workplaces across Mississippi, arresting 680 people and leaving many children stranded, we have received or spotted another of responses to the roundups on social media. Here is a growing list. Please send your response, even if you're an everyday citizen who wants to speak up, to [email protected] or post in the comments below this list.

Gov. Phil Bryant, Republican, on Twitter:

If you are here illegally violating federal laws, you have to bear the responsibility of that federal violation. I think @ICEgov is doing a great job, and I think @USAttyHurst is doing exactly what he should be doing, and I commend him for it.

U.S. Attorney in Mississippi: 'We're Coming After You'

U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst help a press conference to boast of overseeing the "largest" workplace immigration raids in U.S. history.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Republican frontrunner for governor this fall:

Glad to see that ICE is working hard to enforce our immigration laws. 680 aliens detained in Mississippi today. We must enforce our laws, for the safety of all Americans. Well done @USAttyHurst and @realDonaldTrump

US Attorney Mike Hurst on Twitter today, the frontman for the raids yesterday:

@ICEgov @DHSgov conducted yesterday's operation w/ respect & dignity for fellow man/woman. HSI procedures ensured child/parent were united afterwards We are unaware of any child presently w/o a parent as a result of this operation If so, let us know & call CPS 800-222-8000

Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba: “The City of Jackson is firmly committed to promoting and securing safe communities. We unflinchingly uphold the canon of human rights for human beings. The ICE raids are both dehumanizing and ineffective as a tactic for protecting citizens from potential harm. These raids will only further alienate communities from law enforcement, disrupt community policing efforts, and cause law enforcement to forfeit credibility and trust among the people they are sworn to protect and serve. I’m calling upon faith institutions in our community to become sanctuaries for our immigrant neighbors and protect them from potential harm. The City of Jackson strongly objects to the Trump administration’s ICE raids.”

Cliff Johnson, Director of the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law:

What did the government accomplish today by sending hundreds of out-of-state agents into Mississippi for the purpose of rounding up and detaining more than 680 of our hard-working neighbors and friends? We aren’t one bit safer tonight – nobody believes these people were a danger to anyone. Families have been torn apart and local businesses have been hurt. Mississippians didn’t ask for this.

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“Many of us in Mississippi grew up being taught in Sunday School that we should love the stranger because we were once strangers in foreign lands. What happened today flies in the face of those lessons. This is nothing more than mean-spirited political grandstanding.

Mississippi Center for Justice::

Yesterday, 650 federal agents raided six Mississippi communities, arresting 680 of our friends and neighbors in Morton, Canton, Carthage, Pelahatchie, Bay Springs, and Walnut Grove. Mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers were loaded onto buses in plastic handcuffs while children, with their new backpacks and school supplies, returned from their first day of school, only to find their loved ones gone. These raids irreversibly harmed families, schools, communities, and our state.

The Mississippi Center for Justice is on the frontline of this crisis, providing a swift and powerful response to these attacks on our communities. We are coordinating a rapid response legal team to help community members locate detained loved ones, provide immigration legal assistance to those now facing removal, and ensure the care of children whose parents or guardians have been imprisoned. Central to the rule of law are the constitutional principles of due process and access to counsel, and we are committed to ensuring these protections for all Mississippians, regardless of immigration status.

If you are interested in legal pro bono opportunities, please email [email protected], and you will receive additional information. Attorneys can also fill out this form to offer legal assistance.

Southern Poverty Law Center Attorney Julia Solórzano, with the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project:

Today’s raids are part of the ongoing war against immigrant families and the communities in which they live. These sorts of raids terrorize workers and their families. What’s more, today’s raids needlessly ripped parents from their children during the first week of school.

It is especially sickening that days after immigrants were targeted by a gunman in El Paso, Texas, workers at plants across Mississippi witnessed armed agents descending on their workplace.

It’s also worth noting that immigration agencies that have repeatedly blamed ‘over capacity’ detention facilities for the horrific treatment of those imprisoned nevertheless detained more than 600 people today.

Our attorneys and advocates are closely monitoring the situation and exploring options to assist those impacted.

UFCW Union: Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union released the following statement in response to the raids conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Mississippi of a Koch Foods Inc. plant in Morton and a Peco Foods Inc. plant in Canton. Both plants are represented by the UFCW.

These actions to rip apart hardworking families will do nothing to make our country safer and will only create more fear and division in our communities. The people who do these incredibly difficult jobs have the right to due process and must be treated with respect and fairness.

Our top priority right now is to provide whatever assistance and counsel we can to any of our impacted members and their families. Workers across this country are too scared to stand up for their rights and to report wage theft, dangerous work conditions, and other workplace issues. We must act now to end this dangerous climate of fear.

The Immigration Debate in Mississippi

Ongoing coverage of the politics and treatment of immigrants and refugees in Mississippi

We urge the President and Congress to work together to fix our country’s broken immigration system, and to honor the due process that these workers and their families deserve. America is a nation of immigrants. We can and must do better than this.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Statement (Mississippi is one of its focus areas):

W.K. Kellogg envisioned a future where children everywhere could “face the future more confidently, healthier in mind and body, and more secure in their trust of this country and its institutions.” Almost 90 years of dedicated work to support Mr. Kellogg’s vision affirms that children thrive within the support of their family circle and community.

Yet at this moment, children, families and communities are reeling from recent assaults — the violence in El Paso and Dayton, the ICE sweeps in Mississippi and the ongoing family separation at the border. Thousands of children are suffering trauma today from grief, from fear, from uncertainty, from the use of power to threaten rather than protect. Our grantees and partners across every network and coalition are working steadily to reduce that trauma. We stand in solidarity with them for we know that for children to thrive, their families and communities need to be safe and whole.

Our generational commitment to New Mexico and Mississippi, and our work in many other places illustrates how leaders across every sector can band together to reduce the shocks, to address the root causes and to make our institutions, our systems and our laws more equitable and trustworthy. We commend organizations like these and many others who stand with children, families and communities.


Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees

Hispanics in Philanthropy

Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA)

National Women's Law Center


New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty

New Mexico Dream Team

New Mexico Immigrant Law Center

Opportunity Agenda


United We Dream

We recognize their courage and resolve, and call on leaders across this country to join them — to act in solidarity on behalf of children at every decision point. Our actions at every level determine what is possible for families and their communities. Our children deserve better.

Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:

Today, as Donald Trump traveled to do a photo op and give lip service to the communities affected by mass terror in Dayton and El Paso, ICE was busy carrying out some terror of its own. ICE carried out the largest workplace raid in a decade, arresting 680 people, separating them from their families, and spreading fear throughout the immigrant community in Mississippi and the Latino community nationwide.

White nationalism is alive and well in the White House and in this administration. Trump’s racism and xenophobia go beyond his rhetoric and are translated into strategies that are designed to use cruelty to instill fear. Today’s ICE raid is one more in a list of actions to continue demonizing brown people in America who’ve had a target on their back since the day Trump announced his campaign for President.

The question is: will the Republican Party stand up to this President’s out of control and dangerous rhetoric and cruel policies before more people get hurt? Too many people are dying; too many families are being separated; and too many brown and black families and children live scared of what’s to come. These next elections, we must come together to restore dignity to the office of the President and unity to our country. Trump and those who enable him in the GOP are interested in power rather than the safety and well-being of the American people. It’s time for a leadership that values all of us, regardless of color, creed, gender, birthplace, or sexual orientation. Clearly, that will only come if the American people stand up in 2020 and save the American experiment from the clutches of those in charge today.

Daphne Robinson, Citizen of Louisiana:

Dr. King said: 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.' To honor his words, I must say that I am angry at the leadership of the state of Mississippi for permitting the ICE raids to take place after the shooting in El Paso with clearly no preparation for the placement of hundreds of children left without a parent. No one will convince me that the Governor of MS and the Senator from MS did not know about these raids, given their political proximity to President Trump. This has once again cast a racist veil on the state of Mississippi, a state drenched in the vestiges of structural and historical racism. Why would state leadership allow this state, of all states, to be used once again to confirm the worst thoughts about MS and its people? Any why would you allow raids to take place during school hours with no provision for the children, born in this country and who are citizens, whether they be 6 months years old or 16 years old? This act is unconscionable in my opinion, regardless of your politics or your ideas about illegal immigration. Where is the outrage? Where are the protests? Will the good people of Mississippi of all races and religions stand up for these children, like people from all over the country stood up for the children of the Civil Rights Movement? Your silence in the face of this outrage is deafening.

Justice for Migrant Women (Ohio):

' As news reports continue to unfold surrounding the ICE raids of seven agricultural processing plants across Mississippi involving more than 600 ICE agents, Justice for Migrant Women President Mónica Ramírez has issued the following statement:

"These atrocious ICE raids have devastating consequences for immigrants and their families across the country, not to mention our entire country. The workers at these agricultural processing plants were doing their job one minute, and in the next minute, their entire lives were upended. Raids like these result in significant trauma for the workers and the family members who are directly impacted. They also ostensibly send a message to these companies and those in power that they can treat workers - especially the most vulnerable among us - any way they want.

Furthermore, these raids exacerbate the feeling that our Latinx and immigrant communities are under continued attack. Our community is still reeling from the massacre in El Paso, and yet again, we are scapegoated, made the subject of hate speech and hate crimes, imprisoned in camps, deprived of necessities like food, and water and denied dignified treatment. In every way possible these workers and community members are being told: you are not wanted here, you are not safe here, your children have no security here.

The raids in Mississippi illustrate what we at Justice for Migrant Women know to be true, that the targeting and mistreating immigrants, many of whom are Latinx, is not just happening on the border. Last year over 100 children in Ohio started their summer break reeling from immigration raids. This year children in Alabama and Mississippi start their school year begging for their parents to be returned to them."

Mississippi Alliance for Nonprofits and Philanthropy:

Immigration Enforcement Must Put Families First

Earlier this week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) carried out a series of raids at facilities throughout Mississippi that resulted in nearly 700 men and women being apprehended and accused of being in the country illegally.

It quickly became clear that these actions did not take into account the impact on the families of those taken into custody. The raids came on the first day of school – many children emerged from what should be a day of promise and possibility to find no one to pick them up, with no information on what happened to their mother or father. In some cases, children lost both parents to these raids.

We have since seen images of children crying in the street, confused and afraid. Many children were left with, literally, nowhere to go. The local residents and businesses that volunteered to house these children until they could be connected with loved ones deserve our highest praise. While many of those initially taken into custody have since been released, hundreds more are still in detention.

Sadly, these actions are all too reminiscent of the family separations that took place at the Southern border last year. Back then, SECF leadership wrote that “the treatment of children and families is not a political issue – it is a humanitarian one.” This remains the truth today.

Immigration is a complicated and contentious issue, but any actions taken to address it must adhere to some basic principles: people must be treated humanely, families must not be ripped apart and innocent children must not be made to suffer physically, mentally or emotionally.

Several organizations are already mobilizing to help foundations respond to this crisis, including Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, as well as Hispanics in Philanthropy. SECF and the Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy will connect our members with these organizations, as well as any other resources that can help them respond and ensure that children and families in our region – no matter their origin – are treated with dignity and respect.

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