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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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