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A US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer walks past detained immigrants during a raid at a Mississippi chicken processing plant. US Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
A US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer walks past detained immigrants during a raid at a Mississippi chicken processing plant. US Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Raids and family separation: the perpetuation of Donald Trump's zero-tolerance policy

Around 300 families were separated after the largest single-state raid in U.S. history last Wednesday in Mississippi, just days after a massive shooting in El…

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The distance between words and deeds is increasingly reduced when it comes to the Trump Administration.

After the acts of violence during the weekend - where 31 people were fatally injured at the hands of gun violence - the politicization of tragedy in the Hispanic community has reached a new level.

On Wednesday, while President Donald Trump visited the communities of El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, affected by mass shootings, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) conducted the largest single-state raid in the country's history.

Around 700 undocumented immigrants, mostly Latinos were detained in seven food-processing plants in six Mississippi cities, according to media reports.

24 hours later, 377 people were held in custody, 271 were released with orders to appear in court, and 32 were released for humanitarian reasons, said Jere Miles, the agent in charge of the New Orleans Department of Homeland Security.

Among them, at least a dozen were fathers and mothers, whose children were left at the mercy of the help of neighbors and relatives, while their parents were bussed to ICE detention centers.

Images and videos of children crying out for their parents went viral on social platforms, triggering outrage and criticism by Democrats and activists nationwide, which allowed the release of some of the detainees, according to what Bryan Cox, the agency’s spokesperson, told the BBC.

 

"(The detainees) were placed into proceedings before federal immigration courts and will have their day in court at a later date," Cox said in a statement, adding that those who had trouble taking care of their children would be "expeditiously processed and returned.”

However, the strategy has worked perfectly: fear and persecution are now the general feeling among the immigrant community, especially among Hispanics.

“While we are a nation of immigrants, more than that, first and foremost, we are a nation of laws,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, of the Southern District of Mississippi. "They have to come here legally or they shouldn't come here at all."

These statements are not far from what former Administration Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued when he launched the zero-tolerance policy against immigrants last year.

Following widespread outrage over the family separation policy established by the government to detain immigrants at the border, Sessions defended his decision saying, “Yes, I hope people will get the message and come through the border at the port of entry and not break across the border unlawfully.”

It seems that now the zero-tolerance policy has reached the heart of the national territory.

The children separated from their parents after the raid on Wednesday were placed in a local gym after arriving home and realizing that their parents weren’t there, the BBC explained.

Many of the children are U.S. citizens, children of undocumented immigrants susceptible to deportation, especially after being arrested with a warrant and cataloged as "illegal aliens" by ICE.

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