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A senior Democrat on the House Judiciary and Homeland Security committees wants Donald Trump to stop the large-scale immigration raids he has ordered, such as the one this week in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents swept through businesses across Mississippi detaining nearly 700 undocumented immigrants.
Although more than 300 of those detained have already been released, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell reported that alarming reports from USA Today that schoolteachers in Mississippi are concerned that parents won’t be home, that schoolchildren are going to be sent home from school to empty houses.
Mitchell asked Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas what, if any, considerations were made for the children of those detained.
“Well, Andrea, just from the emotional standpoint, before I arrived at the studio, speaking to one of my Hispanic friends, happens to be a business person, I can’t capture for you the emotion of this individual with El Paso and all that is going on,” the congresswoman said, referring to the weekend mass shooting in El Paso where the shooter apparently had anti-immigrant motivation.
“What poor timing the president of the United States decides to take his very untoward and dastardly policies that are made to scare and intimidate not just those who are engaged in this roundup, but all across the nation,” Jackson Lee added. “Now let me be very clear. We understand land of immigrants and a land of laws. However, this process of raids have been used in the past and they are wrong-headed and ineffective. Every one of those persons has an address, were living in the community openly. Their children were going to school. And every one of them could have been appropriately rounded up in some other location. They were not escapees or felons, as President Obama focused on, people who would do harm to the United States. These are people who are working. And not only that, the wrongness, if you will, is on the business that didn’t process these people in the right manner. But I would say for the agricultural business, they’ve been begging for us to find ways for them to have workers in meat plants and other plants around the country. So, I am on Homeland Security.
“I think it’s unfortunate when I.C.E. has to be made into this kind of agency and to be an intimidator rather than an agency that has in the past made sure that we are safe in this nation. That is what Americans want, to be safe,” the congresswoman concluded. “But when their neighbors are rounded up in a vile way, when children are left unprotected, I’m disappointed. And the president and [presidential adviser] Steven Miller need to stop these gestapo tactics and we need to work together to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”