JACKSON, Miss. — Nearly half of the 680 people detained in Wednesday's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids at food processing plants across Mississippi were released the same day, according to and ICE spokesman.
Bryan Cox, the spokesman, confirmed Thursday morning that 300 people were released from custody Wednesday night.
The raids occurred in small towns near Jackson with a workforce made up largely of Latino immigrants, including Bay Springs, Carthage, Canton, Morton, Pelahatchie and Sebastapol. About 600 agents fanned out across the plants involving several companies, surrounding the perimeters to prevent workers from fleeing.
The raids follow President Donald Trump's calls for widespread enforcement of immigration laws and comes after several crackdowns in other states.
Matthew Albence, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's acting director, told The Associated Press that the raids could be the largest such operation thus far in any single state.
In an emailed statement Wednesday morning, U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said, “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations special agents are executing federal search warrants today at multiple locations across the state of Mississippi as part of a coordinated operation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi pursuant to ongoing HSI administrative and criminal investigations.”
In a second statement, Hurst said via email, "The execution of federal search warrants today was simply about enforcing the rule of law in our state and throughout our great country."