August 12, 2019 10:50 am
Updated: August 13, 2019 7:29 am

Video of girl crying after dad detained ‘done on purpose’ for emotion: U.S. official

WATCH: ICE conducts sweeping raids across Mississippi

A A

A top official at U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the Mississippi girl left in tears after her father was detained in immigration raids was wrong — her father did, in fact, commit a crime.

Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of CBP, was responding to a now-widely shared video of an 11-year-old girl sobbing, saying her dad was one of some 680 undocumented immigrants detained at a Mississippi food processing plant.

READ MORE: ‘Let our voices be heard’: Youth march in protest of Mississippi ICE raids


Story continues below

“Government, please show some heart,” Magdalena Gomez Gregorio said through tears.

“I need my dad and mommy… My dad didn’t do nothing. He’s not a criminal.”

Morgan, speaking to CNN on Sunday, said otherwise.

“I understand that the girl is upset and I get that. But her father committed a crime,” he said, referring to man’s immigration status in the U.S.

He said that the child was reunited with her mother shortly after the video was shot.

WATCH: Mississippi Immigrants’ Rights Alliance condemns recent ICE raids

He countered the video, suggesting it was “done on purpose” to evoke emotion. He said there are other victims whose stories aren’t being told.

“How about interview the people that — because a majority of time in the cases, these individuals that are here illegally, they also steal identities or U.S. citizens, they get fraudulent documents, social security cards and et cetera,” he said.

“So it is not just a victimless crime that’s going on here.”

Morgan maintained that the raids were a successful operation that will help control the “full-blown crisis” happening at the southern border.

READ MORE: Former ICE head says raids pose ‘significant risk’ to families with U.S. kids

The raids unfolded at seven food processing plants across the state of Mississippi. Hundreds of ICE agents reportedly surrounded the buildings and prevented workers from leaving.

At a White House briefing on immigration policies Monday, the acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said criminal investigations stemming from the raids are ongoing, but did not elaborate on what those may entail.

“I think what you saw ICE do last week is enforce the law meaningfully,” Ken Cuccinelli said.

“Their enforcement efforts are up… I think you can expect to see more of that from this administration. We’re going to enforce the law.”

ICE said the raids are likely the largest workplace sting in more than a decade.

More than half of those detained were later released.

Backlash grows after immigration raids

Protests against ICE developed over the weekend after the raids in Mississippi.

In Canton, Miss., children were among the hundreds of people who marched from a church to protest the raids.

Local churches were among the first to respond with aid for immigrant families impacted by the recent ICE raids. The state’s Catholic Episcopal, United Methodist and Evangelical Lutheran bishops denounced the raids Friday in a joint statement.

WATCH: Nancy Pelosi says immigration reform is ‘moral responsibility’ of Congress

“I will not sit in silence while my parents are taken away,” read a sign carried by two Hispanic boys.

Opposition also grew in New York City.

About 100 people were arrested in New York City after protesters demanding an end to ICE shut down a major highway, CNN reported.

The backlash against ICE also put Amazon in the crossfire.

Jewish community groups flocked to Amazon’s retail location in the city to draw attention to Amazon Web Service’s cloud computing contracts with ICE and Palantir Technologies, which provides the agency with data for use in immigration raids.

READ MORE: Children of undocumented migrants detained in record ICE raid rely on neighbours for food

The movement grew online with the hashtag #JewsAgainstICE.

The protest took place on Tisha B’Av — a Jewish holiday observed as a day of communal mourning to remember a number of disasters in Jewish history.

Organizers described the event in a statement to Gizmodo as “a call to action to prevent a modern-day tragedy against another targeted minority group.”

On Twitter, protesters could be seen marching down the streets before staging a sit-in inside the retail store, holding signs reading “Amazon destroys our communities” and “Hey Alexa: No to camps.”

A number of people were reportedly arrested in connection with the demonstration.

The photos online show NYPD officers in the store and taking some into custody. The Jews for Racial and Economic Justice group wrote on Twitter that police took a transit bus out of service to transport the “over 40” protesters who were reportedly arrested.

Fellow protesters gathered outside a jail, waiting for their release and updating them on social media.

It appears a similar protest was also held in Los Angeles and Kankakee, Ill.

There was no official word on how many people were arrested in New York City nor possible charges they may face.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.