Communities in Mississippi has been put on edge after the arrest of 700 immigrants on 7th August as part of a series of raids at worksite. In the wake of last week’s immigration raids in Mississippi, registered immigrants are required to show federal agents their identification before they leave the food plant. The Raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcements agency have left the small town’s sizable Latino Community Paralyzed With Fear.
ICE Raids Leave Latino Community Paralyzed With Fear
On a rainy Saturday, a grocery store owner Miguel, told the Guardian from across the counter of his store that “Hispanic people are scared to go out. They are afraid ICE is still around. I’m worried about my business. Its so slow. People came out and now no one is coming out”.
People don’t want to go anywhere and spend money because they don’t know what’s going to happen. Some parents that are authorized to work are going to stay and work but the one’s who don’t can’t do anything anymore, Padilla said. “With the ankle bracelets, they’re basically tracked, and if Ice finds out they’re still working even after getting taken and processed, it’ll be worse for them in the end.”
A ” now hiring” sign hangs on the metal fence at the entrance of the Koch Foods plant which ceased operations because ICE took too many of its employees for it to continue operations. The superintendent of public education for Scott county Tony McGee said;
“Business owners are also telling him that they are struggling. Other businesses who do jobs for Koch Foods, like bringing goods to them or receiving them, have also had to cease some operations. It does affect more than just the workers of the plant. It extends out into the entire community”.
Walmart was not left out in the fallout, America’s largest brick hands mortar supermarket chain.
Children are scared to go to school
According to McGee, many children still have not come back. ICE did not inform the school districts affected nor local Child Protective Services before the raid that took place on 7 August. With hundreds of parents in ICE custody, schools and daycares struggled to find relatives to care for children in the meantime.
On Thursday, 154 students in the Scott county public school district were out, McGed said. By Friday 52 students still had to return to school. There’s still a lot of unease within our Hispanic community, as far as feeling like they can get out in the community, go to school go shopping he said, people are just scared.
For now, academics have been put on hold by the schools in order to focus on the children’s wellbeing. Therapists from the University of Mississippi Medical Center have been in contact with the district and plan to come in to help the children deal with the trauma of the raids.
On Friday night, school administrators loaded up on a bus and took 25 meals and care packages out to children in nearby Morton, Mississippi, another town in Scott county targeted by the ICE raids, McGee said. The district have planned to continue doing that for families who are affected by the raids, starting with children who have not returned to school yet. His aim is to help rebuild as much of a sense of trust and safety as possible.