It took more than a year to plan the operation that led to the arrest of about 680 immigrants in Mississippi, officials said.
US Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Mike Hurst said the raid was a result of careful planning and a lengthy investigation.
“This operation began over a year ago. You don’t bring over 650 special agents from across the country into the Southern District of Mississippi in a matter of three days without preparation for months and months and months,” he said.
Fears are running high in the immigrant community: Just days before the arrests, a gunman who apparently espoused anti-immigrant views, killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
Hurst said because of the extensive planning, officials planned to carry out the raid regardless of the timing.
“So while the tragedies this weekend around the country are horrific, this operation had been planned way before that, and we intended to carry it out,” he said.