WASHINGTON (AFP) – United States (US) President Donald Trump on Friday defended controversial mass raids that led to the arrest of 680 undocumented migrants in the southeastern US, saying they were an effective way to thwart illegal entry into the country.
The raids, which took place at seven chicken processing plants scattered across six Mississippi cities, were the largest in a single state in US history.
“I want people to know if they’re coming into the US illegally, they’re getting out,” Trump told reporters. “And this serves as a very good deterrent.”
He added that when “people see what they saw (Wednesday), like they will see for a long time, they know that they’re not staying here.”
Local media showed images of confused children crying after coming home from school and finding themselves with nowhere to go and nothing to eat after their parents had been detained.
Mississippi Attorney General Mike Hurst, who was in charge of the operation, has also defended the raids, assuring that officers had been concerned about the children’s ability to reconnect with their parents.
“We are unaware of any child presently w/o (without) a parent as a result of this operation,” he wrote on Thursday on Twitter. Meanwhile, area chicken processing plants found themselves with drastically reduced staff.