Nearly 700 arrested by US immigration officers in Mississippi

Reports say 300 temporarily released, with remainder to be held in ICE detention centres

Homeland Security Investigations officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Photograph: Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Reuters

Homeland Security Investigations officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Photograph: Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Reuters

 

The governments of Guatemala and Mexico said on Thursday that between them, almost 300 of their citizens had been detained in the southern US state of Mississippi as part of sweeping US immigration operations.

US immigration authorities arrested nearly 700 people at seven agricultural processing plants across the state on Wednesday in what federal officials said could be the largest worksite enforcement operation in a single state.

On Twitter, the Mexican foreign ministry said 122 Mexican nationals had been detained, of whom 34 had been released and notified of dates for hearings with migration authorities.

Guatemala’s foreign ministry said in a statement that 176 of its citizens had been arrested in the raids in Mississippi, 142 of them men and 34 women.

Separately, the Honduran foreign ministry said that two Hondurans so far had been confirmed among those detained.

The BBC reported that more than 300 of the nearly 700 people arrested had been temporarily released with notices to appear before immigration judges. A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said those who were not released will be moved to a ICE detention centre and held there.

US president Donald Trump has made cracking down on illegal immigration, especially from Central America and Mexico, one of the signature policies of his administration.–Reuters