Last week, ICE agents along with Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi conducted the largest workplace raid in U.S. history.
The investigation had been underway for a year. More than six hundred federal agents scoured seven poultry processing plants rounding up 680 undocumented immigrants.
More than half of those were quickly reunited with their families. But 270 remain in custody at detention centers in Mississippi and Louisiana.
We sat down with U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst who gave us a candid account of the investigation, the tough reality of children being separated from parents and what happens next with detainees and the companies who illegally employed them.
Will employers be prosecuted?
Hurst could not talk specifics about the pending cases but referenced past raids including those on local restaurants and one involving Howard Industries. He alluded to what might come next for those who employed undocumented workers.
Will a wall or arrests really deter people? Is there a better way to address the issue?
Hurst did not directly respond or offer an alternate policy making it easier for people to come to the U.S. legally. When asked he did indicate going after employers would be more effective in the long run, but in the meantime…
What about separating children from their families?
Hurst maintains ICE and the agents on site went overboard to make sure children were not separated for very long. He insists if children were left alone it wasn’t because of federal authorities.