Aug. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said Thursday that 300 out of 680 people detained in Mississippi raids were released overnight.
The raids began at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday at seven food-processing plants across Mississippi, Cox said.
Federal immigration officials carried out the raids, which marked the largest single-state worksite enforcement operation in the country's history, based on search warrants seeking undocumented immigrants and evidence related to federal crimes.
The raids targeted predominantly Latino immigrant workforce in small towns near Jackson at three Peco Foods facilities in Canton, Bay Springs and Sebastapol; Koch Foods processing plant in Morton; PH Foods in Morton and plants in Carthage and Pelahatchie, and left some children with parents detained.
CNN affiliates and Facebook live video footage showed children crying as they waited to hear what happened to their parents. In Forest, Miss., community leaders took the children into a community gym to provide care, and neighbors and strangers volunteered to pick them up outside their homes after school and drive them to a community center to try to calm them as they cried out for parents.
Scott County Superintendent Tony McGee said students ranging from kindergarten to high school from at least six families in his district had a parent impacted by the raids.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba called the raids "dehumanizing and ineffective," in a statement on Facebook.
"These raids will only further alienate communities from law enforcement, disrupt community policing efforts, and cause law enforcement to forfeit credibility and trust among the people they are sworn to protect and serve," Lumumba said in his statement. "I'm calling upon faith institutions in our community to become sanctuaries for our immigrant neighbors and protect them from potential harm."
"The City of Jackson strongly objects to the Trump administration's ICE raids," Lumumba added.
Jackson councilman Ashby Foote disagreed.
"I think the mayor's statement was a mistake," Foote said. "We're a nation of laws and when you don't have laws, you have chaos."