Things That Matter

Two Kids Were Left Alone For Eight Days After Their Parents Were Detained In The Mississippi ICE Raids

The fallout from this months ICE raids in Mississippi continues. After the Trump administration approved the largest workplace raids in US history to proceed just days after the El Paso Massacre, which targeted the Latino community, stories of families being torn apart continue to make headlines.

The raids took place across Mississippi, in the middle of the day, while many of those arrested had children in daycare and local schools. Although ICE claims otherwise, it appears to many that the government failed to account for parents with children whom needed care and attention in the absence of their parents. 

Case in point: two kids were left alone for eight days while their parents sat in ICE detention centers.

Immigration authorities did not realize for eight days earlier this month that they had detained both parents of two children in Mississippi after a massive workplace raid, family members told ABC News.

Ana, the mother of a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old, and her brother Pedro told ABC News of the ordeal on the condition that only their first names would be used. Ana was released last week while her husband remains in custody.

Ana and her husband were among the over 680 people arrested at seven Mississippi poultry processing facilities during an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid over suspicions the employers were hiring undocumented immigrants. They had worked at the Koch Foods plant in Morton, Miss., for seven years.

Ana had arrived to work at the Koch Foods plant in Morton, Mississippi, some 30 miles east of Jackson, around 8 a.m. the day of the raid.

ICE is going on the defense and placing the blame on the children’s parents.

In a statement to TIME, ICE Southern Region Communications Director Bryan Cox said: “Every person arrested that day was asked if they had children… Everyone person encountered that day was also asked if they had minor children that we needed to account for in processing. This particular individual made no such claim,” Cox continued. “Further, she did not claim a husband or father to any children. This agency can only make determinations based upon the information in our possession, which this person declined to provide.”

But the the statement from ICE doesn’t match up with what the kids parents claim happened.

The mother of the children, aged 12 and 14, had alerted ICE officials about the kids being home when she and her husband were detained in the unprecedented raids of seven poultry plants in Mississippi on August 7, reports ABC.

After eight days, ICE agents finally asked the kids’ ages and their mother Ana was released, her brother, Pedro, told ABC. The family asked that their full names not be used because they remained unnerved by the experience.

Immigration, and along with it the cruel enforcement tactics, is a top priority for the Trump administration. 

Despite a spotlight on the border crisis, officials have also stressed the importance of ramping up enforcement within the United States.

Although past administrations have deported immigrants who are in the country illegally, the focus on who should be deported has shifted under Trump’s purview – and the Mississippi raid demonstrated that.

Pedro said his family came to the United States to work and for a better future.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan defended the administration’s tactic of going after nonviolent undocumented immigrants in a recent interview, saying it’s part of a broader, comprehensive immigration enforcement strategy.

“We’ve got to start with our partners in Central America and Mexico. We’ve got to secure the border,” he told NBC News. “But we also have to have interior enforcement to stop this incentive, this work opportunity, that we have in the U.S. that employers are exploiting. And we’ve seen that in this case.”

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ICE Illegally Arrested A Man On Church Grounds After Allegedly Lying To Him To Coax Him Out

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ICE Illegally Arrested A Man On Church Grounds After Allegedly Lying To Him To Coax Him Out

Smith Gado / Getty Images

Across the country, dozens of undocumented immigrants have sought refuge at churches, where they are typically safe from immigration enforcement.

However, as ICE escalates its attacks on the immigrant community, churches and other sensitive places of refuge may no longer be the ‘safe spaces’ they once were.

ICE has allegedly arrested a man who was inside of a church and they lied to get him out.

Last week, six ICE agents entered an undocumented migrant’s home (located on church property) and now that man is in a Georgia detention center. Binsar Siahaan, 52 (from Indonesia), was told that there was a problem with the GPS monitor he had to wear and that they needed to take him to an ICE office in Silver Springs, MD.

“As soon as he stepped outside, they handcuffed him,” taking him first to Baltimore and then to Georgia. He was not given anything to eat for two days, Rev. Scroggins said through tears. She said, “He is being abused. He is not well,” adding, “The way he is being treated is absolutely appalling.”

Siahaan currently is being held in the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga. and may be deported to his native Indonesia. He has been in the United States since 1989, coming here on a visa to work as a driver for the Indonesian Embassy. He overstayed the terms of the visa and then was denied asylum, because he did not apply on time.

But in Siahaan’s case, at the time they moved into the house on church grounds in January, they had no reason to fear ICE would come after them. They moved in to help take care of the church, which they have been attending for about six years.

Siahaan’s attorney and clergy at Glenmont United Methodist are rallying to stop Siahaan’s deportation, accusing ICE of breaching its own protocol by arresting him on church property under false pretenses and while his appeals are still pending.

The church where it happened is urging ICE to release the man – who is still in custody.

Leaders of the United Methodist Church – where the arrest occurred – have called for ICE to release Siahaan. They also called on ICE to state publically that it will uphold its policy of not entering sensitive locations, which includes “churches, synagogues, mosques or other institutions of worship, such as buildings rented for the purpose of religious services,” according to an ICE 2011 memorandum

“We are gravely concerned,” said Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, general secretary of the general board of the Church and Society of the United Methodist Church. “Church grounds are sacred.” She said the government was “in complicity to sin” if it won’t protect immigrants.

Rev. Kara Scroggins, pastor of the Glenmont church where Binsar has been a member for six years, called Siahaan “one of the most devoted, loyal and generous persons I know.” He helps out at the church constantly and usually is the first to arrive and the last to leave, she said.

This is hardly the first time ICE has conducted similar operations.

Credit: Smith Gado / Getty Images

An immigrant who sought refuge from deportation in a North Carolina church, staying there for 11 months, was arrested in 2018 after arriving at an appointment with immigration officials.

The arrest led to protests and the arrest of some supporters of Samuel Oliver-Bruno, the 47-year-old Mexican national who, according to an ICE news release, was detained at a Raleigh-area immigration office.

An advocacy group, Alerta Migratoria NC, said in a statement Oliver-Bruno went to have fingerprints taken so he could apply to stay in North Carolina with his wife and son. This is when ICE stopped in to make the arrest.

He had been living in CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham since late 2017, to avoid the reach of immigration officers, who generally avoid making arrests at churches and other sensitive locations.

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Court Says That ICE Needs To Follow The Constitution When Making Arrests And Here’s Why That’s Such A Big Deal

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Court Says That ICE Needs To Follow The Constitution When Making Arrests And Here’s Why That’s Such A Big Deal

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In what many are calling a landmark decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals just handed a major victory to migrant’s rights advocates. Although the major ruling seems simple on paper, it has major legal implications and could truly change the way that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrest undocumented immigrants.

However, the decision is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court – where it would face an uncertain legal future given the possible future makeup of the nation’s highest court.

The 9th Circuit Court just issued a landmark legal decision that could greatly affect ICE arrests.

Credit: Eric Risberg / Getty Images

Long-standing rules for arresting migrants may soon need to change, thanks to a recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court says that ICE needs to align its arresting and detention procedures with those of all other law enforcement agencies in the country, which are guided by rules within the U.S. constitution. When police arrest people for suspected crimes, the constitution requires them to show probable cause to a judge within 48 hours. But ICE does not do that. When ICE arrests people, it typically holds them for weeks before any judge evaluates whether ICE had a valid legal basis to make the arrest.

But ICE’s policies may no longer be legal.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the usual constitutional rules that apply to normal police all over the country also apply to ICE. “The Fourth Amendment requires a prompt probable cause determination by a neutral and detached magistrate,” the court said. This really shouldn’t be a big deal. Prompt independent review by a judge of whether the government has a legal basis to take away a person’s freedom is an essential safeguard against tyranny.

ICE’s arrest and detention policies have long come under scrutiny for seemingly skirting constitutional rules.

Credit: Joseph Sohm / Getty Images

For almost 200 years, immigration enforcement has existed in a sort of grey area, where the usual rules never applied. For example, when ICE arrests people, individual officers have much more legal discretion than other law enforcement authorities. Detainees may be held for weeks or months before going to a judge who will ask the person how they plead to ICE’s allegations against them.

Only then, long after the initial arrest, might ICE actually be required to show a judge any evidence to back up its case. The person would have spent all of that time detained, likely at a private detention center in a remote area.

For any other person in the U.S., this procedure goes against every legal protection in the constitution. But ICE has gotten away with treating immigrants this way for generations.

The ruling comes as other courts are making it easier for ICE to abuse migrant’s constitutional rights.

The ruling by the 9th Circuit comes less than a week after the 1st Circuit overturned a ban prohibiting ICE from arresting undocumented immigrants at courthouses in Massachusetts.

In 2018, ICE created a policy of attempting to arrest undocumented immigrants when they appeared at state courthouses for judicial proceedings. However, a district court granted an injunction against the policy after migrant advocates filed a lawsuit against ICE. They claimed that ICE was in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and lacked authority to make civil arrests at courts.

Meanwhile, ICE has resumed large-scale enforcement operations, announcing roughly 2,000 arrests over several weeks amid the Coronavirus pandemic. The 9th Circuit’s decision raises an obvious question: How many of those people were detained for more than 48 hours without a review by a judge?

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