Federal authorities detained almost 700 illegal aliens after execution of a massive worksite immigration enforcement operation at seven different locations in Mississippi on Wednesday.
Reports from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security said that the worksite enforcement operation, which took place at multiple food processing locations, netted 680 arrests in what the DOJ described as the “largest single-state worksite enforcement action” in U.S. history. A report at Fox News details that around 600 ICE agents raided the various food processing plants as part of the operation.
“While we are a nation of immigrants,” U.S. attorney Mike Hurst said at a press conference about the raids, “more than that, we are first and foremost a nation of laws. And the rule of law is the bedrock, the very foundation of our great country.”
A statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi, says that those detained were “being interviewed, fingerprinted and photographed by ICE agents, processed for removal from the United States, and transported to an ICE facility in Jena, Louisiana.” A separate ICE statement says that those in the group who already have received final removal orders are now being processed for removal from the country.
But what about the employers who hired illegal labor? ICE’s statement also says that federal law enforcement officials seized business records “pertaining to the ongoing federal criminal investigation.” At Wednesday’s press conference, Hurst said that he couldn’t comment on an ongoing matter when asked by a reporter whether or not those who knowingly employed the illegal aliens would face consequences.
The worksite enforcement is reminiscent of the George W. Bush administration, which regularly conducted large worksite enforcement raids. Some of the more famous examples were those at Pilgrim’s Pride facilities in 2008 and a massive raid at a kosher meat plant in the same year. Obama “avoided” such actions, the Associated Press explains, “limiting workplace immigration efforts to low-profile audits.”