U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) executed multiple federal criminal search warrants at seven agricultural processing plants across Mississippi Wednesday morning as part of an ongoing HSI worksite enforcement criminal investigation.
In addition to executing federal search warrants and seizing business records pertaining to the ongoing federal criminal investigation, deportation officers with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in partnership with HSI detained approximately 680 removable aliens who were unlawfully working at the plants.
All the unlawfully present foreign nationals arrested Wednesday are being interviewed by ICE staff to record any potential mitigating humanitarian situations. Based on these interviews, and consideration of their criminality and prior immigration history, ICE is determining on a case-by-case basis based on the totality of the circumstances which individuals will be detained and which persons may be released from custody at present. In all cases, all the illegal aliens encountered as part of this operation are either being placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts, and for those who already received due process and have been ordered removed, processed for removal from the U.S.
A 24-hour toll-free hotline is available for family members of those arrested in this operation to address questions about their detention location and status, and the removal process. This hotline operates in English and Spanish; the phone number is 1-855-479-0502.
This HSI-led operation was conducted in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi, of which U.S. Attorney D. Michael Hurst Jr. will prosecute any resulting federal criminal charges.