After Immigration and Customs agents arrested 680 illegal immigrants at food processing plants in Mississippi on Wednesday, Aug. 7, and dozens were released the next day, authorities revealed details of the operation, which is now known as the largest raid in the last 10 years on U.S. soil.
According to the VOA, each person released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities was notified that they will soon have to appear before immigration judges.
Meanwhile, other illegal immigrants were transferred to detention centers in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. Of the 680 immigrants detained, the majority were from Latin America, according to the VOA.
In statements to the media, ICE National Security Investigation officials for the Southern District of Mississippi noted that the operation to capture the 680 had been planned for a year.
According to the VOA, the operation would only have been executed once an agreement was issued by a judge so that the border guards would have ” sufficient probable cause” to get search warrants and execute them.
Immigration and Customs officials also indicated that no one had been prosecuted according to the new expulsion parameters issued by ICE in July, because the agents are still in training.
The new immediate or accelerated removal guidelines provide that those found anywhere in the United States can be repatriated to their countries without having to go through a legal process before Immigration courts; as long as they cannot claim to have been on U.S. soil for at least a year.
According to the VOA, federal authorities said that those who were detained Wednesday were consulted about whether they had children in schools or day care centers that had to be picked up. In that sense, the detainees were provided with a cellphone so they could call and contact them and make the necessary arrangements.
The news agency also informed that many of the immigrants who were initially taken to a military base for processing, were given electronic ankle monitors to wear as they wait for court dates.
On the other hand, an estimated 600 ICE agents were involved in the operation that raided a chicken processing plants owned by five different companies located in different areas of Mississippi such as Bay Springs, Canton, Carthage, Pelahatchie and Sebastopol, according to the VOA.
So far none of the companies have talked about what happened.
According to the VOA, prosecutor Mike Horst told reporters that those who wanted to enter the United States should be aware of the laws indicating that such a process is done legally. Otherwise, he said, “They shouldn’t come here at all.”
The prosecutor also sent a strong message to those companies that are involved in knowingly hiring illegal immigrants only to “gain a competitive advantage or to make a quick buck.”