US immigration officials raided numerous Mississippi food processing plants Wednesday, arresting 680 mostly Latino workers in what marked the largest workplace sting in at least a decade, the AP reports. The raids, planned months ago, happened just hours before President Trump was scheduled to visit El Paso, Texas, the majority-Latino city where a man linked to an online screed about a "Hispanic invasion" was charged in a shooting that left 22 people dead in the border city. Workers filled three buses—two for men and one for women—at a Koch Foods Inc. plant in tiny Morton, 40 miles east of Jackson. They were taken to a military hangar to be processed for immigration violations. About 70 family, friends and residents waved goodbye and shouted, "Let them go! Let them go!" Later, two more buses arrived.
A tearful 13-year-old boy whose parents are from Guatemala waved goodbye to his mother, a Koch worker, as he stood beside his father. About 600 agents fanned out across the plants involving several companies, surrounding the perimeters to prevent workers from fleeing. The raids occurred in small towns near Jackson with a workforce made up largely of Latino immigrants, including Bay Springs, Carthage, Canton, Morton, Pelahatchie and Sebastapol. Some employees tried to flee on foot but were caught in the parking lot. Workers who were confirmed to have legal status were allowed to leave the plant after having their trunks searched. "It was a sad situation inside," said Domingo Candelaria, a legal resident and Koch worker who said authorities checked employees' identification documents.
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