When immigration officials raided a series of food-processing plants in Mississippi on August 7 and arrested close to 700 suspected undocumented immigrants, it was clear that children were left behind without their parents. But, “If both parents were arrested, one parent was sent home within 24 hours,” a spokesman from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told ABC News.
Clearly, that did not happen in at least one case. Two children, ages 12 and 14, were left alone for eight days after both their parents were swept up in the raids. After authorities became aware of the situation, the children’s mother was released on August 15.
Pedro, the children’s uncle, told ABC News that when his sister was taken into custody that she told the agents she had children. But both parents were detained anyway, leaving their children home alone. After days passed, she then told an ICE officer, who asked for the names and dates of birth of the children, which finally led to her release, Pedro said.
The day of the raids presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said, “These children will go to sleep tonight with no idea when, or if, they’ll see their parents again. This is being done in our name — and it’s on all of us to end it.”
With people scared after being arrested, and possibly afraid that their children might be deported without them, or worse, this story is likely not unique. It’s a heartless policy that should not be in place.