Two children, aged 12 and 14, were left alone for eight days after both their parents were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during sweeping workplace raids in Mississippi earlier this month, ABC News reports.
In a statement to TIME, ICE Southern Region Communications Director Bryan Cox confirmed that the children’s mother was freed from custody on Aug. 15. Cox said she did not tell authorities of her children on the day of her arrest, Aug. 7, and added that once she told ICE, she was released.
“Every person arrested that day was asked if they had children… Everyone person encountered that day was also asked if they had minor children that we needed to account for in processing. This particular individual made no such claim,” Cox continued. “Further, she did not claim a husband or father to any children. This agency can only make determinations based upon the information in our possession, which this person declined to provide.”
ICE did not provide the name of the woman released from custody, but ABC News reports her first name is Ana. ABC spoke to Ana and her brother, Pedro, who said she did tell officials that she had two children on the day of her arrest — and that it was only when she told ICE agents again that action was taken to release her. According to ABC, Ana’s case is still pending, meaning she still has to face an immigration judge to determine if she is to be deported or not. Ana’s husband remains in custody.
The two both worked — on different shifts in order to balance childcare commitments — at a Koch Foods plant in Morton, Miss., according to ABC. They were among the 680 people who were arrested by ICE on Aug. 7 at plants throughout Mississippi, now considered the largest state-wide workplace raid in history.
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