On August 7, 2019 the Administration, through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), conducted a raid that resulted in the arrest of 680 people targeted through various plants in Mississippi. The raid is considered the largest in US history. The ICE raid included more than 600 agents and targeted chicken processing plants which have high immigrant populations due to the chicken industry’s recruitment practices. The raid offered little protection for the children caught in the middle with many children left alone. After the raids, ICE claimed that more than 300 people were released on humanitarian grounds but there continues to be reports of the negative consequences on children through last week. Last week ABC News reported that two children 12 and 14 years of age were left alone for eight days while USA TODAY reported that they had found several instances where mothers of breastfeeding infants as well as some single parent mothers were still locked up despite the ICE humanitarian claims.
In another area of immigration enforcement, several news outlets reported and had copies of form letters that informed people with serious medical conditions they would no longer be able to extend their stay in the United States for serious medical treatment. The population served is small but critical to the people touched by the need for what is referred to as “medical deferred action.” The immigration program allows people to remain in the U.S. for two-year periods if they can prove extreme medical need. The people affected by the policy change came to the U.S. through a visa or other permitted status. Because of serious medical treatment that can only be met here in the United States, patients are requesting to stay beyond the two years to receive medical treatment.
In an interview with National Public Radio and TIME Magazine, an official from the Boston’s Irish International Immigrant Center, said that many of the 20 affected families being served by the center and with the special status are families whose children have cancer, cystic fibrosis, HIV, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and epilepsy. The Administration indicated that they were merely changing oversight and control of the program within Homeland Security, but the families effected did not get that explanation and the form letter they received directed them to leave the country within 33 days of receiving the letter or face deportation action.