FOREST, Miss. (WJTV) – Federal agents arrested almost 700 undocumented immigrants in Mississippi Wednesday in raids that took place at 7 food processing plants.
Officials say they’re enforcing the law, but many in the community say it’s not right to take parents away from children.
Fighting back tears, 11-year-old Magdalena Gomez Gregorio expressed her devastation being alone without her dad.
“Government, please put your heart, let my parent be free and everybody else please, don’t leave the child with cryness and everything,” said Magdalena.
This came after ICE agents raided several food plants in Mississippi, arresting 680 people believed to be in the country illegally.
But those children left behind and families impacted by each raid stressed their parents and friends are good people.
“I need my dad and mommy. My dad didn’t do nothing, he’s not a criminal,” said Magdalena.
“The children that I’m with right now, their mom’s been here for 15 years, she has no record, no nothing. A lot of people here have no record. They’ve been here 12 years, 10 years, 15 years,” said friend Christine Peralta.
For Peralta, who’s the godmother of two children whose mom was arrested, she’s felt helpless watching all day as the boys wonder when they’ll see their mother again.
“He said his mom is gone, that he’s upset with Trump. He said he just wants his mom back and they’re both crying, they’ve been crying all day since they got home from school,” said Peralta.
But with the help of Clear Creek Boot Camp owner Jordan Barnes and other community leaders, the kids will have a roof to sleep under at his gym for the night with donated food to eat.
“We’re going to have bedding available for them and we’re going to get food for them just to get them through the night. And if they need transport to school in the morning, we can arrange that as well,” Barnes said.
And in times like these, those in Forest, Mississippi stress you can not forget the children going through all this.
“I understand the law and how everything works, and everything has a system, but everybody needs to hold the kids first and foremost in their minds. And that’s what we’ve tried to do here is just give them a place to stay, just to kind of ease the pain a little bit,” Barnes said.
A judge has already ordered some of the people detained be removed from the country.
Authorities say children left behind will be placed with family members.