WASHINGTON, D.C. – One year ago today armed agents set upon workers at poultry plants in Mississippi, arresting more than 600 immigrants and terrorizing them, their families, and their communities. This raid occurred just days after a gunman targeted Latinx immigrants in a mass shooting in El Paso, murdering 23 people. The raid also coincided with the first week of school, and many children were left to fend for themselves when they returned to find empty homes.
Below is a statement from Southern Poverty Law Center Staff Attorney Julia Solórzano marking the anniversary:
“A year later little has been done to address the grave injustices done to the workers and their families targeted that day by federal agents. Unfortunately, the raid and its aftermath were just part of a long string of abuses immigrant workers across the United States have suffered under the current administration.
“For years, poultry workers in the Mississippi plants that ICE raided have suffered wage theft, retaliation, and sexual harassment and sexual assault by supervisors. Rather than screening and protecting them though, ICE arrested and deported potential worker victims and witnesses. The government should be protecting all working people from being exploited by corporations who break the law, not wasting billions on deportations and mass raids.”
“These sorts of unnecessary and cruel tactics do not address any real problems associated with the nation’s immigration system. Instead, they only serve to terrorize immigrant communities and workers making them more susceptible to being exploited by employers.”
The SPLC, Human Rights Watch, and other groups have reported for years, working in a poultry processing plant is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Workers suffer extremely high rates of injuries and often receive less than the minimum wage. Recent lawsuits against poultry plants in Alabama and Mississippi have also exposed rampant sexual violence and discrimination in the industry.
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