Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence defended the agency’s recent illegal immigration raid in Mississippi and argued that the parents are the ones to blame if they are separated from their children.
“We conduct our operations with professionalism, with compassion and with humanity, and we tried our best to minimize the impact on the innocent people of this situation,” Matthew Albence said during an NBC interview.
“However, we have to enforce the law. Every law [enforcement agency] enforces the law against individuals who have broken it,” the ICE Director added.
Albence’s remarks regarded a record-breaking ICE operation that went down earlier this month. ICE agents raided seven food processing centers across the state of Mississippi on August and arrested 680 people on suspicion of living and working in the U.S. illegally. The number of apprehensions marked ICE’s largest single-state raid in history.
However, ICE has since received significant blow-back for the huge operation. A number of protests popped up across America and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are asking for more information.
During the interview, Matthew Albence reacted to a viral video of a crying girl whose father had been apprehended during the raids.
“Some of the most difficult things that we have to do in our job is to enforce the laws, involve the separation of children,” the ICE chief said.
“The parents or the individuals that are breaking the law are ultimately the ones that are responsible for placing their children in this situation,” he added.
Nearly every chief within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has publicly defended the Mississippi raid. Out of the 680 people who were apprehended, over 200 carried criminal records, according to DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan. Nearly half of the those arrested were released on humanitarian grounds.
Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan stated that the crying girl was immediately returned to her mother at home.