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Just Days After Latinos Were Targets Of A Mass Shooting, ICE Conducts The Largest Raid In A Decade

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America’s Latino and immigrant communities are still reeling after a white terrorist directly targeted the Latino community in a mass shooting. But that didn’t stop ICE from conducting the largest single-state raid in history on Wednesday, netting 680 arrests of largely Latino workers across Mississippi.

Workers, many of whom had kids in daycare or at school, were arrested and booked into military hangers with no chance of communicating with their families. Images of children In tears waiting at school, assuming the worst had happened, quickly went viral.

And the rest of us are left wondering how is this happening?

ICE conducted massive raids across Mississippi that resulted in 680 arrests of undocumented migrants.

On Wednesday, ICE arrested undocumented workers in one of the largest worksite operations ever conducted by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. In total, some 680 suspected undocumented workers were arrested Wednesday after ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations agents swept through seven agricultural plants in the state as part of a criminal investigation. Deportation officers and HSI agents arrested the workers as they served criminal search warrants at the food plants.

The coordinated raids were conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations “at seven agricultural processing plants across Mississippi,” according to an ICE statement. In addition to the arrests, agents seized company business records.

More than 600 ICE agents were involved in the raids, surrounding the perimeters of the targeted plants to prevent workers, mainly Latino immigrants, from escaping. The actions were centered on plants near Jackson owned by five companies, according to The Associated Press.

Many families were left wondering what was going on.

One woman, Dianne, told Buzzfeed news that her fiancé had called her to warn her that he would be arrested and she could hear the panic and commotion in the background. Her husband has three children from his previous marriage who Dianna has helped raise.

Dianne raced to the school to pick up the kids. On her way out of the school, she saw one girl looking confused, not knowing where to go because her parents had been arrested too.

“They were crying. They were shocked. They’re just worried,” Dianne said of her fiancé’s children. “I’m just trying to stay strong for them. I’m trying to remain as calm as possible. It’s one thing to know this could happen but it is another to see it happening. This is heart-wrenching. They are scared.”

ICE officials said the raids had been planned for sometime and that they’re a key strategy of the Trump administration’s attempt to clamp down on migrants.

The arrests Wednesday were part of the Trump administration’s renewed focus on cracking down on businesses suspected of employing undocumented workers. ICE officials have said that employers who hire undocumented workers gain an “unfair advantage” over others and take jobs from US citizens and legal residents.

The city of Jackson, where several raids took place, came out strongly condemning the raids.

The city of Jackson, Mississippi came out strongly against the raids. The mayor’s office said what many of us already know: these raids do not make communities safer and instead terrorize families, disrupt the economy, and instill fear in the community.

While John Sandweg, former acting director of ICE under the Obama administration, said Wednesday’s operation was massive in scope and would have a long-term impact on the immigrant community.

“This is a high-profile way to send a message and to create more fear in immigrant communities about ICE and about their ability to live and work in this country,” he said. “This burns an incredible amount of resources to apprehend people, few of whom pose any threat to the US. It’s for show more than for anything else.”

Photos of children left alone and scared when their parent’s couldn’t pick them up quickly went viral.

Many who were arrested had little time to contact their families or make arrangements for kids still at school or in daycare. So when it came time to be picked up and their parents never came for them, many children were distraught.

Local reports showed that some children were being taken to gyms and libraries by volunteers and people were donating snacks and food to the children. By late Wednesday, all the children left behind had been reunited with a relative.

Many were speaking out against the raids including democratic presidential candidates.

From Kamala Harris to Bernie Sanders and Julián Castro, many came out strongly against the raids. Each of them pointed out the trauma this can cause in a child’s life and the ineffectiveness of such raids.

When asked how a federal agency could leave behind so many kids, ICE didn’t have much to offer.

”What I can say is that every law enforcement agency in the nation arrests persons who may be parents when those persons commit arrestable offenses, and this agency has taken and is continuing to take extensive steps to take special care of situations,” ICE Southern Region Communications director Bryan Cox said in the statement. 

Cox said the detainees “were advised … to let ICE officers know if they had any children who were at school or childcare and needed to be picked up.”

The ACLU and immigrant’s rights organizations were warning people to be prepared and to know your rights.

In an unusually strong warning, the ACLU warned people that this is not a drill Massive raids of undocumented people are happening now. And they urged people to know their rights so they can speak up and fight back.

READ: Experts Are Warning There Will Be A Wave Of ICE Raids This Weekend But Here’s What You And Your Loved Ones Need To Know To Protect Yourselves

Activists Are Warning That The Guard Running His Truck Through Protesters Is Not Going To Be The Last

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Activists Are Warning That The Guard Running His Truck Through Protesters Is Not Going To Be The Last

People across the U.S. are stunned by a viral Twitter video showing a contract Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) guard driving his pick-up truck through a crowd of protesters. The protesters, part of the Jewish activist organization Never Again Action, posted videos of the assault on Twitter and it has sparked outrage at the actions of law enforcement at the scene. Here’s what happened.

Captain Thomas Woodworth has been placed on administrative leave following the incident, according to authorities.

Credit: @theplaceilove / Twitter

“The incident which occurred last night is currently being investigated by the Rhode Island State Police,” a statement to the Boston Globe read. “Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility Warden Daniel Martin is also conducting a top to bottom review of the incident, Wyatt correctional officers’ response, and the Wyatt’s protocols regarding protest activities outside of the facility. Captain Thomas Woodworth has been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the independent investigation being conducted by the Rhode Island State Police, and the Wyatt’s internal investigation.”

People are spreading his information as far and wide as they can to shame him for his actions.

Credit: @AntiFlashGordon / Twitter

The video has been shared all over social media and people have reacted with shock and anger. Other activists are pointing out that the use of a car to ram protesters is becoming a more common thought and occurrence than in recent history.

Others are using the video as a moment to question what exactly is happening inside the detention centers they are protesting.

Credit: @nat_lern / Twitter

People have been trying to get people’s attention to the humanitarian crisis in the detention centers. There is a real concern that if guards can run their car through a group of lawful protesters, what are they doing to migrants in detention?

Activists captured video of an ICE guard using his pick-up truck to break through a group of protesters in Rhode Island.

Credit: @NeverAgainActn / Twitter

Protesters were stationed outside of the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Rhode Island. During the protest, a pick-up truck drives up the protesters and honks the horn before driving through the crowd of protesters. However, the truck was not the only time the protesters were assaulted during the protest.

During the incident, law enforcement at the scene used pepper spray on the protesters to break up the crowd.

Credit: @NeverAgainActn / Twitter

“We will not be deterred by the violence that was taken against us last night,” a spokesperson for Never Again Action told NBC News. “People are being harmed in ICE custody every day. This is exactly why we are doing what we’re doing.”

People are horrified at the blatant attack on peaceful protesters.

Credit: @mcastimovies / Twitter

The video is a chilling reminder of the violence we have seen against protesters in recent times. Two years ago, the world watched in shock as a white supremacist ran his car into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia during the Unite the Right rally. The attack claimed one life, Heather Heyer, in the name of hate. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured during the incident on Wednesday night.

Five people were hospitalized after the guard ran over protesters.

Two people were hospitalized because of the truck driving into the crowd and three people were hospitalized for the pepper spray. The whole incident has not deterred the organization from standing against ICE and its detention practices.

READ: More Than 100 Protesters Were Arrested In New York City For Blocking One Of The Busiest Streets In The City

An Ex-ICE Attorney Is Calling Out The Agency For Using False Evidence To Deport And Detain Innocent Migrants

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An Ex-ICE Attorney Is Calling Out The Agency For Using False Evidence To Deport And Detain Innocent Migrants

A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lawyer has revealed that in several cases ICE agents corroborated against immigrants in order to achieve their deportation. In an in-depth interview with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates those on power, Laura Peña revealed many of the behind the scenes details of the how the government agency pursued the deportation of migrants and asylum seekers. The investigative piece highlights some of the trials and tribulations that Peña has lived through as a legal assistant to the agency where, in different cases, there was a common factor: lack of evidence to accuse immigrants of any fault that prompts their deportation.

Now she’s getting to tell her side of the story. 

Who is Laura Peña and how did she end up working for ICE?

Credit: @ProPublica / Twitter

Growing up in Harlingen, Texas, which is close to Mexico, Peña was immersed in the migrant community. Living so close to the U.S-Mexico border gave her a unique perspective on what many Latino migrants endured. She went to school with friends who were undocumented and friends whose parents also worked for the Border Patrol. After graduating high school she left the area and would get a job in the State Department. 

She would eventually take her career path in the same footsteps as her father to become a lawyer. After graduating from Georgetown Law, she saw that ICE was looking for trial attorneys but the opportunity wasn’t as easy as it seemed. Peña wasn’t sold on the concept of helping see migrants get deported, especially growing up in a migrant community herself. Family and friends were in disagreement with the thought of her working on behalf of ICE. 

 But her father, who himself was a struggling attorney, consoled her and reassured her not to pass up an opportunity like this. “Do what you need to do,” he counseled her. “Don’t worry about what others think.”

 A fellow mentor, who was also an immigration attorney, also encouraged her to take the position. He said this could be an opportunity to take the job and try to make the government agency more humane. “We need people of your mindset working on the government’s side,” she told Peña.

Peña was hired in 2014 as an ICE attorney which would be the start of a turbulent and controversial time working on behalf of the agency. These are some of the stories she told ProPublica about her experiences. 

Credit: @HispanicCaucus / Twitter

One of the mentioned cases in the investigative piece was that of Carlos, a migrant who applied for political asylum. As soon as he made his request, border and immigration agents accused him of being a member of the notoriously famous MS-13 gang in El Salvador, so this made Carlos not eligible to enter to the United States. 

This is where Peña, who followed the case, started to see the ugly true side of ICE. She did not find any semblance of a connection between Carlos and the gang, not even tattoos, that are a key part of the gang’s look or even criminal record in his own country. To the contrary, Carlos even carried an official letter from the Ministry of Justice of El Salvador certifying and clearing him of ever setting foot in a jail cell. Peña demanded proof from immigration agents that he was connected to the gang but did not obtain any. Despite the lack of any evidence of his gang affiliation, Carlos did not obtain his asylum.

Another case she revealed was that of a 6-month-old baby who was scheduled to be deported because he had been separated from his mother. Peña would eventually reunite the child with his mother but the woman was accused of carrying a false document. The immigration judge used that against her and would then order her child’s removal from the country.

This would all lead to Peña taking a step back from the agency. She now works pro bono with clients seeking asylum at the border. 

Credit: @bykenarmstrong / Twitter

All of this immigration work would overwhelm Peña over time, especially during the Trump administration’s family separation policy went into effect in Spring 2018. “Everything was stacked against the immigrants. Most couldn’t afford to hire an attorney. Few would ever win their cases.”

Peña would go on to acknowledge that the immigration system refuses to provide due process to an immigrant. but also realizes that there’s not much that could be done there. She is now working pro bono as a visiting attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project, helping migrants with asylum cases. She now hopes she can properly bring justice to the countless of people that have been wrongly deported or separated at the hands of ICE. 

READ: This New Border Wall Mural Features QR Codes That You Can Scan To Hear Emotional Stories Of Deported Migrants

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