Federal judges in Mississippi are hearing criminal cases back to back in U.S. District Court in Jackson, due to the recent ICE raids in six cities at food processing plants. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
Guatemala native Gaspar Domingo Gomez, is a legal U.S. resident living in Forest. He testified before a federal judge on behalf of his nephew, Guillermo Domingo Gomez. The 18-year old obtained a fake I.D. and was working at the Koch plant. He was among the 680 arrested last month at seven chicken processing plants. Nayely Perez Huerta is with Southeast Immigrants Rights Network, and helping families like the Gomez's.
"We've been informing the families first about their rights. There's a lot of fear in the community but also knowing how they can be supporting their loved ones knowing that they have a chance depending on the case to fight and be able to stay," said Perez Huerta.
The judge imposed a $10,000 bond because Guillermo isn't considered dangerous or a flight risk. In another court room, 21-year old Heydy Vasquez Ramon is charged with obtaining fake I.D.'s and buying someone's identification. She also worked at the Koch plant. The judge granted a $25,000 bond because she has a six month old child. Ramon has to live with her cousin in Carthage, under house arrest. Attorney John Weber is the federal public defender representing her.
"Under the Bail Reform Act, the court should look to always release individuals when possible and that's what the judge did although under very stringent conditions," said Weber.
Despite the bonds issued by the judges, the defendants must appear before an immigration official to determine if they will be released until they have to appear in court.