300 released following ICE raid at Bay Springs food plant

300 released following ICE raid at Bay Springs food plant
Armed officers stand guard outside Peco Foods in Bay Springs. (Source: Jeffrey Morgan)

JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) - Three hundred people who were detained in immigration raids throughout the central part of the state have been released, according to a Department of Justice news release.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and ICE Homeland Security Investigations raided seven locations across the state Wednesday. A total of 680 people were detained with officials calling it the largest single-state worksite enforcement operation in the nation’s history.

One of the raids took place at a Peco Foods in Bay Springs. Raids also took place at two other Peco locations in Canton and Sebastopol.

Armed officers stand guard outside Peco Foods in Bay Springs.
Armed officers stand guard outside Peco Foods in Bay Springs. (Source: Jeffrey Morgan)

About 30 people were released Wednesday at the sites where they were initially encountered, and the other 270 were released after being processed by Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) at the National Guard base in Pearl.

U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst issued the following statement on Twitter Thursday:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and ICE Homeland Security Investigations conducted yesterday’s operation with respect and dignity for fellow man and woman. HSI procedures ensured children and parent were united afterwards. We are unaware of any child presently without a parent as a result of this operation. If so, let us know and call CPS."
U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst

During processing, detainees were asked if they had any children who were at school or childcare and needed to be picked up. According to the Department of Justice, HSI made cell phones available for parents to arrange care of their children or other dependents. HIS also had liaison officers working with the school districts to facilitate this process.

As part of HSI procedures, if HSI encountered two parents with minor children at home, they released one of the parents on humanitarian grounds and returned that person to the place they were arrested. HSI similarly released any single parent with minor children a home on humanitarian grounds and returned that person to the place where they were originally detained.

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