In response to the massive ICE raids in Mississippi on August 7, 2019, Jobs With Justice has issued the following statement:
Yesterday Immigration and Customs Enforcement, raided several workplaces owned by Koch Foods. Some 680 people were rounded up in what is understood as the largest immigration raid in U.S. history.
Following the pattern of previous raids under the Trump Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) targeted facilities that were industry leaders for pay and where workers had previously been successful in raising their voices to improve conditions. Last year workers at Koch Foods organized and won a class action lawsuit to receive compensation and change a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination that is common in one of the most dangerous industries in the United States.
This raid instills widespread fear that has long-term consequences for working people, their children and their communities. In light of the tragic attacks in Dayton and El Paso, the raids are a direct attack on working people who have the audacity to dream bigger and be heard. The ripple effects are numerous, and include workers feeling scared to report wage theft, dangerous work conditions, and other abuses. This makes all working people, regardless of immigration status less safe because it makes it easier for low-road employers to beat their competition by violating labor law.
ICE’s despicable targeting of workers is compounded by their total disregard for their own policies meant to protect children. The tremendous harm to children that can result from the trauma of raids, including long-term harm to development and overall health is well known. Yet, it seems ICE did not follow protocol, such as timely release of certain vulnerable populations, including sole caretakers of minor children, and advance notification of worksite actions to local social service agencies — yet again refusing to recognize the humanity of those they targeted. It is irresponsible and reckless to carry out such massive operations without taking every possible step to ensure that children are not unnecessarily terrorized and separated from their parents.
ICE continues to say they are “upholding the law” as a guise for anti-democratic and racist acts. We must call on our Congressional Representatives to investigate ICE’s targeting of union workers and traumatizing of children. Those things should never be justified by the letter of our laws.
Please also help local groups raise money to seek legal support for those picked up in the raid and stabilize the families left behind through this fundraiser: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms-raids