Immigration raids on several Mississippi businesses led to the arrest of 680 people, authorities announced Wednesday, in what is believed to be the largest single-state raid of workplaces in the nation’s history.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents made the arrests in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.
They executed multiple federal criminal warrants at seven sites across Mississippi as part of multiple ongoing criminal probes, the Justice Department said in a statement.
An unspecified number of those who were taken into custody are "being identified as being eligible for an alternative to detention based on humanitarian reasons," the department said.
“The execution of federal search warrants today was simply about enforcing the rule of law in our state and throughout our great country," U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Mike Hurst said in a statement.
President Donald Trump has adopted a hard line on immigration -- both legal and illegal -- since coming to office in 2017.
The sting operations come on the same day Trump was to visit El Paso, Texas, a border town that was the site of a horrific mass shooting over the weekend in which the gunman is suspected of targeting Latino victims.
Trump has in the past repeatedly criticized El Paso, lying about its crime rate in an anti-immigrant push.
During his annual State of the Union address, Trump said the Latino-majority city on the U.S.-Mexico border was one of America's "most dangerous cities" with an "extremely high" crime rate before a border barrier was constructed.
Those assertions are at odds with the facts of the matter, however. The city touts a violent crime rate lower than the national average as well as a lower rate for property crime, which has been the case for decades./aa