JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV)-The Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services says it should’ve been involved prior to
the immigration raids. We’re hearing from U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst on why he says the agency wasn’t contacted.
Hurst says he can’t recall any time he’s contacted a non-law enforcement agency and given advanced notice.
Hurst and ICE have been criticized after children were separated from their parents. Hurst says he reached out to CPS after the raid August 7.
“That night I got a request from a pastor in Jackson that I knew who had reports that children were separated and so I reached out to commissioner Jess Dickinson over at child protective services, and I got all the information and made sure I got it over to that pastor that night, and the next morning we included all the information CPS had given us and sent that out in a press release for anyone who had information that a child was without a parent, they had a duty to call CPS to reunite them,” said Hurst.
CPS says Hurst called the commissioner around 1 a.m. August 8 to tell him about the two children, and Hurst was then given the hotline number. They say they weren’t included before the raids or immediately afterward. The spokesperson says the conversation with the commissioner was brief and a response to the raid involving the children and families wasn’t discussed.
“If we are to indicate or notify someone who is not in law enforcement there is potential that evidence of the crime could be destroyed,” said Hurst. “It could be tipped off. They could hide evidence.”
Hurst says every child he knows of was reunited with a parent within 24 hours of the raids. He says if they weren’t, it was the parents fault for not telling ICE there was a child at home.
CPS says it went ahead and activated its emergency response plan as soon as they found out about the raids. No children had to be placed in foster or group homes.