Family separations at the border have been halted because of the ruling by a federal judge. However, the story of family separations continues for mixed immigration status families living in the U.S. In fact, arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are on the rise. A series of early morning raids in a small town in Nebraska has left a community reeling while banding together to care for the children left behind as a result of the raids.
On August 8, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials detained more than 100 people from various factories and businesses in O’Neill Nebraska.
CREDIT: @TedGenoways / Twitter
ICE agents arrested 133 people in a town with a population of less than 4,000 people.
Last week’s raid was one of the largest ever conducted during ICE’s 15-year history. According to The Washington Post, the raid was the result of a year-long investigation.
“The job magnet in the United States is primarily what draws illegal aliens across our borders,” Tracy Cormier, special agent in charge of Homeland Security’s St. Paul, Minnesota, told The Washington Post. “This HSI-led criminal investigation has shown that these targeted businesses were knowingly hiring illegal workers to unlawfully line their own pockets by cheating the workers, cheating the taxpayers, and cheating their business competitors.”
It was still summer break so members of the community had to figure out how to help all of the children left behind.
CREDIT: @OWHNews / Twitter
The school year officially started on August 16, one week after the raids, and the schools were still closed.
The school system responded by opening the schools to provide families and children shelter.
CREDIT: @SouthOLacey / Twitter
“We just wanted to make sure all of our students knew that school was a safe place, that school loved them regardless of their (immigration) status,” O’Neill Public Schools Superintendent Amy Shane told The Lincoln Journal Star.
Around 12 to 15 kids showed up to the school to seek shelter. However, school officials say that roughly 50 to 100 children may have had a family member taken away.
CREDIT: @MarshallProj / Twitter
The Lincoln Journal Star reports that 17 percent of O’Neill Public Schools students are Latino, and “more than 7 percent were English Language Learners last year.”
At least three kids were separated from both parents, according to the school.
CREDIT: @Haleaziz / Twitter
Immigration officials have been responsible for forcibly orphaning children at the border and in the U.S. through raids and mass arrests.
According to ICE, the company owners were trying to exploit Latino workers.
"The businesses engaged in a scheme that used fraudulent names & Social Security numbers to employ people in the country illegally… The businesses used 'force, fraud, coercion, threat of arrest &/or deportation' to exploit the workers." (via @AP): https://t.co/Up30ruzAq2 (1/2)
— ICE (@ICEgov) August 9, 2018
“The ACLU condemns this ongoing campaign of misery that targets immigrants, disrupts local businesses and separates families,” Rose Godinez, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska, said in a written statement according to the Associated Press.