Following a record-breaking mass ICE raid, 11-year-old Magdalena's father was detained. All she wants is for him to come home.
After a massive raid conducted by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Morton, central Mississippi that resulted in numerous arrests of supposed illegal immigrants, families have been torn apart. Young children have been left abandoned, relying solely on the kindness of strangers to get by. Many family members do not know when they will be reunited with their loved ones. For 11-year-old Magdalena, the experience has been a cruel and terrifying nightmare. A week ago, a video of her begging for her father's release went viral across the internet, but she is still unsure about when she will be able to see her father again, CNN reports.
The video was recorded at a gym facility turned into a makeshift shelter for families separated from each other. The shelter offers food as well as housing to children who were brutally separated from their parents due to the record-setting immigration raid. Hundreds of workers were unfairly arrested. Unfortunately, Magdalena's father Andres Gomez-Jorge was one of them. At present, he is being held at the Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, Mississippi. He was working at the Morton Koch Foods plant when the raid occurred.
In an interview with CNN immediately following her husband's detainment, Andres' wife Juana revealed how terrified she was. "We don't know where he is," she said at the time. "We don't know if he's dead or alive." However, after receiving a phone call from him, she was somewhat relieved. Juana explained, "He asked about the baby, and he asked about the girls. I said, 'Don't worry. Don't worry about the kids. I'm taking care of them.'" The couple has four children together, ages 11, 9, 6, and a toddler, who were all born in the United States.
Regarding her daughter's impassioned interview, she stated, "Her father is very important to her. Her heart was moved." Juana also revealed some of her fears moving forward. As she is unemployed and relies entirely on Andres to fund the household, she does not know how she will be able to rent, utilities, or whatever bail she may need in order to rescue her husband from the ICE detention center. She asked, "I feel very powerless. I don't have a job. Only my husband works. I'm thinking, what am I going to do?" She also reaffirmed Andres' commitment to his work ethic, stating, "He didn't come here to rob anybody. He came here to work. It is out of necessity." Should her husband be deported back to Guatemala, the family will have no choice but to leave the country and follow him. This could be a harrowing experience for their children, as they have never left the United States. This country is their home.
In response to the situation, Acting Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan coldly told CNN's Jake Tapper on the media outlet's State of the Union show, "I understand that the girl is upset, and I get that. But her father committed a crime." US Attorney Mike Hurst brutally added, "As a father of six children, it breaks my heart any time a child is affected by their parent's illegal activities. And we see this all the time as law enforcement, whether it be immigration or tax evasion or bank fraud or drug use. But the laws are the laws, and our job is to enforce those laws. And while this young child's interview is heartbreaking, that's what we have to do." At the moment, Juana is on the hunt for a lawyer who can help her husband come home. She told CNN that she is trying to stay strong for her kids and is determined to find a way to pay bond so the family can be together again.