Two children were left without their parents for more than a week after both were detained in workplace raids that targeted a number of food processing plants and swept up nearly 700 people in Mississippi earlier this month. “Immigration and Customs Enforcement said everyone that day who told authorities they had children at home was given priority processing,” ABC News reports. “If both parents were arrested, one parent was sent home within 24 hours, a spokesman said.”
But the children’s uncle says their mom, Ana, did tell agents the day that she was detained that she had kids at home. Her husband had just been finishing up his graveyard shift when he was detained, while Ana was taken into custody just as she was getting to the plant to start her day, leaving their two kids, aged 12 and 14, without a parent. She wouldn’t be released for another eight days, after she told an officer at the detention center where she was being jailed that she had kids at home. Her husband remains in custody, however.
It’s unclear whether Ana’s two kids were home alone or had someone checking in on them, but it is clear that they aren’t the only children who have been left without a parent due to these raids. Ingrid is not only parenting her kids alone following her husband’s detention; she’s also looking after a sister-in-law’s three children. “You know that there’s a chance your husband could be deported?” journalist Maria Elena Salinas asked her. “Yeah,” she replied. “What would you do if that happens?” Salinas asked. A heartbroken Ingrid responded, “I don’t know.”
Even if every single one of these kids is lucky enough to get their parents back home safe and sound, child welfare experts say that "the nightmare isn't over.” Tony Caldwell, a licensed clinical social worker who began leading counseling sessions for affected children immediately following the raids, said
"Trauma is a lifetime journey. And the journey started in the past 48 hours for some of these kids, and it'll be with them for the rest of their lives in some way."