It was the first day of school in Morton, Mississippi, Wednesday, and many undocumented parents and their children went together to the first morning drop off, said Elizabeth Iraheta.
By the end of the day, some of those children were all alone, she said.
US immigration authorities arrested about 680 undocumented immigrants at seven sites in six different cities in Mississippi on Wednesday.
As the scene unfolded, people wondered what will happen to the children of the detained immigrants.
A Facebook video broadcast live at the scene showed an 11-year-old girl sobbing and begging an officer for a chance to see her mother as bystanders tried to comfort her.
In the video, an officer noted that the mother is being processed “because she doesn’t have papers to be here legally,” then later told the crying girl that her mother would be released and wouldn’t be deported.
But Iraheta said she isn’t sure what will happen to the girl’s mother, how many people were detained at the plant where she works or what will happen to them now.
“Today was the first day of school. All the parents went to take their kids to school,” Iraheta said. “Now their kids maybe are alone. “
What ICE is saying: Albence, the acting ICE director, told reporters Wednesday that in the past the agency has worked with school liaisons to help “find placement” for children when their parents are detained.
“Most of the time, they’re placed with another family member,” he said, adding that each case would be evaluated and handled individually.
“Some of the parents that were arrested will be released and placed on an ankle monitor throughout (their immigration) proceedings,” he said.