JACKSON, Miss. — As immigration authorities raided seven Mississippi food processing plants and arrested hundreds of undocumented workers on Wednesday, many children found themselves without their parents.
In one heartbreaking video captured by CNN affiliate WJTV, an 11-year-old girl sobs and begs for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to let her parents go.
“Government, please put your heart — let my parents be free with everybody else, please,” she pleads.
Christina Peralta, who said her daughter goes to school with the girl in the video, told CNN that after the girl finished school on Wednesday, some of her father’s friends brought her to a community gym that had been housing children whose parents were detained.
“I need my dad … mommy,” the girl cries as she speaks with the station outside the gym. “My dad didn’t do nothing. He’s not a criminal.”
Peralta said that she knows the girl’s father through her work as a Spanish translator for the Latino community in Forest, Mississippi.
“He worked down here in Morton, Mississippi, at the chicken plant,” Peralta said. “He’s a good person. He’s been here a long time. He has no record at all.”
About 300 migrants have been released since the arrests on Wednesday, but at least 377 more are still in ICE custody, according to Jere Miles, special agent in charge for the Department of Homeland Security.
Peralta said she doesn’t know whether the girl has been reunited with either of her parents yet.