Of the 680 people arrested on Wednesday during immigration raids in Mississippi, more than 300 were released on Thursday morning with notices to appear before immigration judges, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said.
ICE conducted seven raids in six cities, sending 600 agents to agricultural plants operated by five companies. With their parents detained, children had to spend the night in the care of other family members, friends, and in some cases strangers, with churches, gyms, and other businesses opening their doors to offer assistance. In the town of Morton, where the Koch Foods Inc. plant was targeted, resident Gabriela Rosales told The Associated Press she understands there is "a process and a law," but it was "very devastating to see all those kids crying, having seen their parents for the last time."
On Thursday, schools in the areas where the raids took place reported a high number of absences, AP reports, and Rev. Mike O'Brien of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Canton said "the people are all afraid. Their doors are locked, and they won't answer their doors."
This was the largest immigration raid in the United States in 10 years, and Cliff Johnson, director of the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law, told NBC News it will definitely rock the local economy. "We're going to see dramatic financial consequences," he said. "This affects housing, access to food. I have real concerns about what happens a week and two weeks from now from a financial perspective for these families."