Aug 19, 2019
On August 7th ICE rounded up almost 700 workers from food processing plants in Mississippi. ICE claimed these workers didn’t have documentation.
The targets were hard-working mothers and fathers. Their children were left behind, crying and scared. In minutes, ICE destroyed families and livelihoods. And then it uses this vicious attack to “send a message” to other immigrants that they could be next.
ICE workplace raids are not new. They are not just because of Trump. They have gone on for decades, under both Democrat and Republican administrations.
These latest raids targeted factories where immigrant workers have organized unions, fought back against discrimination or challenged unsafe and unsanitary working conditions.
The raids targeted chicken processing plants operated by Koch Foods, one of the largest poultry producers in the United States. Last year Koch Foods paid out 3.75 million dollars to settle an Equal Employment Opportunities Commission class-action suit charging the company with sexual harassment, race discrimination and retaliation against Latino workers at one of its Mississippi plants that were raided.
This is also not new. Immigrant rights advocates have noted before that workers are targeted for raids after their facilities get investigated for worker abuse.
In June of 2018, ICE raided a unionized Fresh Mark meatpacking plant in Salem, Ohio – arresting 140 workers. A week before the raid on Fresh Mark’s Salem plant, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Fresh Mark $211,194 for three separate incidents in which proper guards for dangerous machinery were not in place. OSHA found that the lack of safety guards resulted in the death of an undocumented worker.
Suspicion was also raised that workers complaining about working conditions in plants led to a raid at Southeastern Provision in Morristown, Tennessee. The raid came after federal authorities had been tipped off by a local bank that the owner of the plant may have been paying undocumented workers under the table.
By using the pretext of lack of documentation, the government, working for big business, hopes to stop ALL workers from organizing, from fighting back.
These raids were carried out four days after 22 people were murdered in El Paso, Texas, gunned down by a homegrown white nationalist terrorist who wanted to kill Mexicans.
These ICE raids were a terrorist attack too – a terrorist act carried out by the U.S. government against a section of the working class.