MORTON, Miss. – U.S. immigration officials raided several Mississippi food processing plants on Wednesday, part of a large-scale operation carried out by President Donald Trump’s administration that targeted both owners and employees.
The raids came hours before Trump was to visit El Paso, Texas, to offer sympathy to the majority-Latino city where a man linked to an online screed about a “Hispanic invasion” was charged in a shooting that left 22 people dead in the border city.
Workers filled three buses – two for men and one for women – at a Koch Foods Inc. plant in tiny Morton, 40 miles east of Jackson. They were taken to a military hangar to be processed for immigration violations. About 70 family, friends and residents waved goodbye and shouted, “Let them go! Let them go!” Later, two more buses arrived.
A tearful 13-year-old boy whose parents are from Guatemala waved goodbye to his mother, a Koch worker, as he stood beside his father. Some employees tried to flee on foot but were captured in the parking lot.
Workers who were confirmed to have legal status were allowed to leave the plant after having their trunks searched.
“It was a sad situation inside,” said Domingo Candelaria, a legal resident and Koch worker who said authorities checked employees’ identification documents.
The company did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.