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August 09, 2019

Chairman Thompson Inquiries on ICE Raids in Mississippi

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to the Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to express his outrage on the ICE raids in Mississippi this week which left children without their parents – a form of child separation.  Even though these raids were purportedly planned for over a year, ICE seems to have ignored its own guidelines to minimize the impact on children and the broader community.

Letter excerpt:

I write to express my outrage regarding the recent raids conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Mississippi which left an unknown number of children without their parents.

On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, ICE and the U.S. Attorney’s office conducted worksite enforcement operations in seven locations across Southern Mississippi. This operation resulted in the arrest of 680 undocumented workers and was touted as the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in the United States. Given that these arrests were purportedly the result of a year-long investigation, it is extremely concerning that ICE seems to have ignored its own guidelines to minimize the impact on children and the broader community when it planned this raid.

As you should know, ahead of raids that will result in the arrest of more than 150 individuals, ICE is supposed to coordinate with the Department of Human and Health Services (HHS) Division of Immigration Health Services (DIHS) or State and local social service entities if DIHS is unavailable.  These guidelines have been in place at ICE since 2007. However more than 24 hours after the operation had concluded, ICE had still not contacted Mississippi’s Department of Child Protection Services.  This left state agencies, schools, and local communities scrambling to help children affected by these raids and ensure they did not go home to an empty house on their first day of school. This is unacceptable.

At a time when this country is grieving due to two domestic terrorist shootings, your agency has instead seemingly deliberately disregarded its own long-standing guidelines and carried out another form of family separation. The blatant lack of planning and resulting chaos calls into question the true motivation behind these worksite enforcement operations.

Link to letter

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Press Contact

Adam Comis at (202) 226-2616