Trump administration on the defense over immigration crackdown in Mississippi

On the same day the president visited El Paso, Texas, ICE agents raided a food processing plant in Mississippi and detained 680 migrants.
2:37 | 08/12/19

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Transcript for Trump administration on the defense over immigration crackdown in Mississippi
crackdown by I.C.E. Workers in Mississippi. More than 600 workers suspected of being undocumented immigrants taken into custody. Children coming home after one of their first days back at school learning a parent was among those detained. The operation as president trump was visiting El Paso. They say the timing of the incident is unfortunate. Here's ABC's Tara Palmieri. Reporter: Tonight, the trump administration on defense after a mass immigration crackdown in Mississippi, the same day the president visited El Paso, a border community in mourning. The director of homeland security saying the operation was already in motion. The timing was unfortunate. Something like this was planned for a year. 14 federal warrants issued by a judge. And I.C.E. Had to follow through. Reporter: Wednesday, I.C.E. Stormed six food processing plants in Mississippi. 377 remain in custody. Court documents say they willfully and unlawfully employee who are not working in the country. Most cases, they they Pais them reduced wagers, exploit them further on the bottom line. Many children, including this young girl, coming home from school to find their parents were arrested. My dad, he's not a criminal Reporter: ABC's will Carr showing the interview this week. What would you say to the little girl? Obviously the impact is devastating. What I would say that I.C.E. Will go through a case by case process. Reporter: 2020 presidential hopeful senator kamala Harris saying the employers should be punished, not the employees. This administration has directed dhs to conduct these raids as part of what I believe is this administration's campaign of terror. Reporter: The acting head of customs and border protection, pushing back. I think words matter. These aren't raids. These are targeted law enforcement operations. Tara Palmieri traveling with the president. Joins live in New Jersey near the president's golf club. The president defended the operation saying, it's a very good deterrent? Before the president left the white house Friday, he said crackdowns serve as a warning to undocumented workers and other migrants that come to this he said, they know they're not stying staying here. Tom? Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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