Mississippi raids: ICE still detaining breastfeeding, single parents

For the first three days, Elizabeth refused, wailing each time as she pushed him away. On the fourth day, when hunger overwhelmed her, she finally accepted the bottle. 

“I didn’t know what to do,” Ramirez said. “She kept crying and crying. She was so hungry but she wouldn’t take the bottle. I thought she was going to die.”

Her mother, Norma Cardona Ramirez, was among the 680 people arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Aug. 7 during raids at food processing plants in central Mississippi.

…ICE denied that the woman had been breastfeeding. The agency claimed the woman had responded “no” when she was asked if she was breastfeeding. The agency said it had a nurse examine the mother after the story was published – 12 days after her arrest – and that the exam showed she was not lactating.

The woman’s attorneys and her husband maintained that the woman was lactating and had not been asked by agents whether she was. 

Ramirez says his wife also was not asked whether she had children or was breastfeeding.

Ramirez said his wife told him during a phone call that when she was first apprehended in Canton, she was only asked for her full name, her date of birth, her country of origin and her parent’s names. As she continued to be transferred, officials again only asked her those four questions, Ramirez said. At no point was she asked whether she had a child that she was breastfeeding, and she repeatedly tried to tell the agents.

…The day after the raids, Hurst’s office announced about 300 suspected undocumented immigrants were released on “humanitarian grounds.”

If immigration officials encountered two alleged undocumented immigrants with minor children at home, they released one of the parents and returned the individual to the place from which they were arrested, said a news release from Hurst’s office. They did the same thing for single parents with minor children at home, the release said.

At least one woman says that’s a lie.

Mississippi raids: ICE still detaining breastfeeding, single parents


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