Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kevin McAleenan says “the timing” of the largest single-state raid in United States history in Mississippi “was unfortunate” in the wake of the El Paso, Texas mass shooting.
Last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents conducted the largest workplace raid in more than a decade across seven food processing plants in Mississippi, which netting the arrests of 680 illegal aliens. That same day, though, ICE officials said they released about 300 of the illegal workers back into the U.S. on “humanitarian grounds.” More than 200 of the illegal workers had prior criminal records.
During an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, McAleenan said given the ICE raids were carried out four days after a gunman with white supremacist views allegedly murdered 20 people in a Wal-Mart in El Paso, the “timing was unfortunate.”
“Given the emotions of the country right now, in hindsight, do you wish this raid didn’t happen this week,” Todd asked.
“The timing was unfortunate,” McAleenan said in response.
McAleenan said prior that the ICE raids on the food processing plants had been scheduled for “over a year” and that “ICE had to follow through” on the criminal investigation into the plants, their owners, as well as the arrests of the hundreds of illegal workers.
In the interview, Todd admits that food processing corporations like those raided by ICE rely on easily exploitable illegal workers.
“This is one of those things where it’s an open secret. Food processing plants in this country are … don’t work without undocumented labor,” Todd said.
ICE officials said charges against the food processing plant employers are expected as the investigation is ongoing.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.