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People are reacting to heartbreaking videos and photos featuring children literally left on the street after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids took their parents away.
On Wednesday the largest ICE raid in history was carried out, resulting in 680 arrests of workers at seven food processing plants, spanning across six cities in Mississippi, according to WJTV. Wednesday was also the first day of school for many children in Mississippi. Those whose parents were taken by ICE came home to empty houses or were left waiting at school for a ride that never came.
Immigration authorities told WJTV that they worked with schools to make sure the children would be cared for, but videos and pictures coming out of Forest, Mississippi tell another story. As the school day came to an end, a number of children were left crying on the street, with no information about where their parents had been taken to, or if they would ever see them again.
THIS IS NOT AMERICA. THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE. These are children of the 680 people arrested today by ICE in Mississippi. They are crying, because their parents are gone. And they were left by themselves. Don’t look away. Make this viral now. Shame on Trump pic.twitter.com/g69PuGDeGZ— Scott Dworkin (@funder) August 8, 2019
En una escuela de #Mississippi, los niños y familiares de inmigrantes conmocionados y algunos de ellos sin nadie que cuide o que haga cargo de ellos, ya que sus padres fueron sacados de sus lugares de trabajo por agentes federales en el histórico de hoy, llorar, sin saber cuándo o si volverán a ver a sus seres queridos.680 personas de las cuales así veremos docenas de historias.Compartido con permiso de Miriam SanchezPosted by Federacion Jalisco Internacional on Wednesday, August 7, 2019
With no officials appearing to provide food or shelter to the children, concerned community members came together to care for them. Community leaders organized to bring the children to a community gym and gather food and bedding for them.
Children of those arrested in Wednesday’s #ICE raids near Forest, MS. are being put up in a local gym tonight by neighbors/strangers. Many are left scared & crying after coming home from school & being locked out without their parents. Donated food & drinks are being provided. pic.twitter.com/d2juMdK1Vj— Alex Love (@AlexLoveWJTV) August 8, 2019
Hundreds of children in Mississippi lost their parents and family on THEIR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) August 8, 2019
They came home to empty houses with no parents.
It’s incredibly cruel and that’s the point. The cruelty is on purpose and it’s the fucking point. #ICEraids #TrumpRaids
I am in Oklahoma. Please - I need to know what the hell I can do for these babies. I would do anything for them. This is vile, it makes me cry, it makes my stomach churn with anger. #Mississippi #ICEraids #MississippiRaids pic.twitter.com/hfIZs2mgwB— Noah Geopfert #RelentlessBeto (@NoahGeopfert) August 8, 2019
Jordan Barnes, the owner of the gym where the children were housed overnight, spoke to WJTV about the need for compassion in immigration enforcement. “I understand the law and how everything works and everything needs to have a system,” Barnes said. “But everybody needs to hold the kids first and foremost in their minds.”
One of the children who had both parents taken in this ICE raid, 11-year-old Magdalena Gomez Gregorio, had a message for the government. “Government please show some heart,” she told WJTV. “I need my dad and mommy.”
According to WJTV reporter Alex Love, all the children have since been able to return to their homes or are with relatives.
UPDATE: We’ve just gotten word that all the kids have been returned to their original homes, if not temporary ones with distant relatives till this gets fully sorted out. No need to call anymore. We’ll keep up up to date as new details emerge. #FocusedOnYou— Alex Love (@AlexLoveWJTV) August 8, 2019
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Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.