Dozens released after massive MS immigration raids

A man is taken into custody at a Koch Foods Inc. plant in Morton Mississippi on Wednesday

USA immigration officials raided numerous MS food processing plants Wednesday, arresting 680 mostly Latino workers in what marked the largest workplace sting in at least a decade.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Matthew Albence told The Associated Press that the arrest count from Wednesday's raids may make it the largest workplace sting in more than a decade and probably the largest ever for a single state.

On Wednesday, about 600 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents fanned out across plants operated by five companies, surrounding the perimeters to prevent workers from fleeing. He says about 30 were released at the plants and about 270 others were released from the military hangar where they had been brought after the raids to be processed.

MS residents rallied around terrified children left with no parents and migrants locked themselves in their homes for fear of being arrested Thursday, a day after the United States' largest immigration raid in a decade.

Three poultry plants raided were owned by Peco Foods, in Canton and a fourth by Koch Foods, Morton.

Koch Foods, based in Park Ridge, Illinois, is one of the largest poultry producers in the US and employs about 13,000 people, with operations in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio and Tennessee.

The arrests came as a result of administrative and criminal search warrants executed by special agents from Homeland Security Investigations, Hurst said.

"The children are scared", said Ronaldo Tomas, who identified himself as a worker at another Koch Foods plant in town that wasn't raided. ICE's statement also says that federal law enforcement officials seized business records "pertaining to the ongoing federal criminal investigation".

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About 70 family, friends and residents waved goodbye and shouted: 'Let them go!

A few workers tried to flee on foot but were captured from the factory premises.

A video released by ICE showed buses arriving at a Canton, Mississippi, processing facility where agents searched workers and checked their identification documents.

A tearful 13-year-old boy was seen waving at his worker mother, as he stood beside his father. ICE officials did not return telephone calls Thursday morning.

Last year, the Trump administration raided a meatpacking plant in eastern Tennessee.

In Morton, workers were loaded into multiple buses on Wednesday -some for men and some for women - at the Koch Foods plant. "It is especially sickening that days after immigrants were targeted by a gunman in El Paso, Texas, workers at plants across MS witnessed armed agents descending on their workplace".

'This will affect the economy, ' Maria Isabel Ayala, a child care worker for plant employees, said as the buses left. Barack Obama avoided them, limiting his workplace immigration efforts to low-profile audits that were done outside of public view. It is the 8th largest poultry producer in the US, according to the company's website.

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