Magdalena Gomez Gregorio, 11, said in an emotional video, "Government please show some heart, let my parent be free with everybody else please..."
Following ICE raids at seven Mississippi food processing plants, hundreds of undocumented migrant workers were taken into custody on Wednesday leaving their children behind without a parent. CNN affiliate WJTV captured a tragic video of an 11-year-old girl, Magdalena Gomez Gregorio sobbing profusely and pleading the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to let her parents free.
"Government, please put your heart -- let my parents be free with everybody else, please," begged the little girl as per a report by CNN. A woman named Christina Peralta, whose daughter attends the same school as Gregorio, told the outlet how the girl was brought to a community gym by some of her father's friends after school.
This tragic, and not what America stands for🙄😡😢— Cheryl DePaul (@cheryl_depaul) August 8, 2019
The facility was filled with children whose parents had been detained. Speaking to the news station present outside the gym, the girl cried, "I need my dad ... mommy." Advocating for her father, Gregorio added, "My dad didn't do nothing. He's not a criminal." Peralta mentioned how she knew the girl's father due to her work as a Spanish translator for the Forest, Mississippi residing Latino community.
"He worked down here in Morton, Mississippi, at the chicken plant," said Peralta. "He's a good person. He's been here a long time. He has no record at all."
Unfortunately, Gregorio's father was among several hundreds of undocumented residents who were arrested during this raid which was being planned for more than a year now, reports CBS News. During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Mike Hurst, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi touted this sprawling operation as "the largest single state immigration enforcement operation in our nation's history."
With the assistance of the local district attorney's office, the Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agents targeted seven workplaces, sprawled across six different cities in southern Mississippi.
When these parents are ‘separated’ it is the same as when parents are ‘separated’ from there American homes when they get arrested and have to go to jail— Brody R. M. (@BebongBro) August 8, 2019
"These are not new laws, nor is the enforcement of them new," said Matt Albence, the acting director of ICE on Wednesday. "The arrests today were the result of a year-long criminal investigation. And the arrests and warrants that were executed today are just another step in that investigation."
The task force surrounded the food processing centers in order to prevent them from escaping the site. After this, the agents forced workers out of the workplace and confiscated their belonging keeping them in plastic bags. Using plastic bands, they tied their wrist and transported them on buses to a Mississippi National Guard where they were to await their fate.
Wow, what part of the Bible do I learn this type of caring and compassion love?— uziel hernandez (@ericobig) August 8, 2019
"While we do welcome folks from other countries, they have to follow our laws," said Hurst. According to CBS News, some of the employers were also arrested for providing jobs to people who were living on U.S. soil illegally. Following this operation, Hurst issued a strict warning to all businesses: comply with the law, or we're coming after you.
A Forest, Mississippi-based gym owner Jordan Barnes collected donations to put take care kids of the deported parents for the night and send them to school the next day, with the assistance of other community leaders at his Clear Creek Boot Camp. CBS Jackson, Mississippi affiliate WJTV reported several weeping toddlers among children who had nowhere to go.
"No one is above the law" I'm told.— Rachel 🐶💙🇺🇸 (@RaychelTania) August 8, 2019
That said..the employers breaking the law need to be penalized way more than they are. The workers just wanted jobs. The ones creating the incentive are most to blame.
"For a lot of the cities where these raids occurred, it was the first day of school. We know from past immigration enforcement actions of this type, that there are going to be children who go home tonight and their parents will be gone," said a legal fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Julia Solórzano.
"It's extremely disruptive to families. It's — in many cases — depriving the family of the primary breadwinner," continued Solórzano. While a Texas Democrat wrote in a statement, "Let's be clear: ICE raids of this scale are not conducted for the purpose of immigration enforcement, they're to strike fear in our communities in a time when Latinos are already living in terror."
I am sad that children are impacted but I keep thinking why did her father put her in this position.He knew he was illegal the same way a citizen that commits a crime knows if they get caught can go to jail and their children will be impacted but they do it anyway.— Veronica Biggs (@onilee53) August 8, 2019
Speaking about its effects, the legal project's director of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, Patricia Ice said, "It's going to have an effect for years and years." In addition to that, she said, "We're hoping that most of the people will be released and sent back home."
Continuing further she added, "Some of them may be fitted with ankle monitors… and receive notices to appear at the immigration court in the future." CBS News was informed by an ICE official that "several hundred" of arrested immigrant workers were released from custody. Around 377 migrants still remain in custody, while the others were sent to their respective arrest locations, the special agent in charge of the Department of Homeland Security, Jere Miles told CNN.
Since they have entered the country illegally and broken the law we can just call them criminals....— Scottie Mack (@scottiemack73) August 8, 2019