Aug. 16, 2019
Best of the States
Source’s tip, weeks of planning put AP at scene of massive Mississippi immigration raids
Because San Diego correspondent Elliot Spagat received a tip that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were planning massive raids on food processing plants, AP was uniquely positioned – literally – when ICE stormed seven Mississippi chicken processing plants and arrested 680 people, the largest workplace raid in a decade.
ICE’s acting Director Matthew Albence said that the investigation was so secret that even the White House didn’t know.
On the day of the raids, weeks of persistence and planning put AP way ahead of local and national media in the speed and depth of the report. Photographer Rogelio V. Solis was the only journalist on scene when about 600 agents simultaneously hit the plants, while his Jackson colleague, reporter Jeff Amy, got an exclusive interview with Albence.
Their multiday coverage received monster play, including 3 million social interactions for the first-day story alone.
For scoring scoops on a major ICE operation, Spagat, Amy and Solis are the winners of this week’s Best of the States honors.