Nearly half of the 680 illegal immigrants who were arrested during an Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid on Wednesday have been released on "humanitarian grounds" to ensure that none of the related children are left without a parent to care for them, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.
The ICE operation involved roughly 600 agents and several food-processing plants in Mississippi, making it the largest single-state raid ICE has ever executed. After the arrests, the "removable aliens" were processed and, if justified, released until their court dates.
According to a Justice Department statement, 300 of the detained illegal immigrants were released and taken back to the locations at which they were first arrested after being asked whether they had children who needed to be picked up.
Pursuant to HSI procedures as part of this operation, all those detained yesterday were asked when they arrived at the processing center whether they had any children who were at school or childcare and needed to be picked up. In order to make it possible for detained aliens to contact family members and address childcare issues, HSI made cell phones available for use by detained aliens to make arrangements for the care of their children or other dependents. In addition, HSI had liaison officers working with the school districts to facilitate this process.
As part of HSI procedures pursuant to this operation, if HSI encountered two alien parents with minor children at home, HSI released one of the parents on humanitarian grounds and returned that individual to the place from which they were arrested. HSI similarly released any single alien parent with minor children a home on humanitarian grounds and physically returned that person to the place where he or she was originally detained. Based on these procedures, it is believed that all children were with at least one of their parents as of last night.
Others, including those who are pregnant or those who had not been subject to immigration proceedings in the past, were also eligible to be released, according to Fox News.
The releases, which are standard ICE procedure, came as some criticized the negative impact the arrests may have on children of those detained.
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