ICE Raid Appears Imminent in Mississippi

A workplace raid a la Postville, Iowa appears imminent in Mississippi. From the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance:

A series of preparations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the Gulf Coast has local advocates on edge about the possibility of yet another worksite raid, and yet another devastating blow to businesses, families and communities in the name of immigration enforcement.

"The preparations we are seeing ICE make are alarmingly similar to what occurred immediately prior to the raid on the Agriprocessors, Inc. Kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, a few months ago, " said Patricia Ice, an immigration attorney and spokesperson for MIRA. ICE has reportedly booked dozens of rooms in hotels on the Gulf Coast. They may be checking in as early as tonight.


Perhaps even more worrisome are the reports that the federal court in Hattiesburg is being readied for a response similar to the response to the raid in Postville, when nearly 400 plant workers were arrested on trumped up identity theft charges, and slammed through criminal prosecution and judicial removal (being forced to waive all their criminal defense and immigration claims) within just days of the raid.

"What happened in Postville was an absolute travesty of justice that must never happen again," said Ms. Ice. "ICE must assure that any future enforcement actions are conducted in a humane manner and that detainees are permitted their constitutional rights to due process and to legal counsel."

A good report: Over-Raided, Under Siege (pdf).

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    Where do I start (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by txpolitico67 on Fri Aug 22, 2008 at 11:17:57 PM EST
    As someone who works in the temporary staffing industry, I get requests from clients and/or prospects who ONLY want Hispanic workforces.

    As a rule of employment law, it is standard practice to send out the most qualified candidate to perform said duties.

    The business community doesn't really care about any of this.  They want cheap, effective labor and the undocumented supply that.  Where I work, we verify every one's social security number through the SAVE program that is initiated by the Dept of Homeland Security.

    For me, I have walked away from business that EXPECTS me to source undocumented workers.  I won't do this for these reasons:

    I am not one to break the law
    I don't want to be looking over my shoulder
    Being Hispanic, I don't want to contribute to the outright exploitation of my ANY people, but especially Hispanics.

    This is a dynamic we in the staffing biz face all the time.  For me, principle trumps the almighty dollar.  When undocumented workers show up at my staffing company, we give them a "one-sheet" that directs them to the proper agencies to start the legal immigration process.

    It breaks my heart all the time when we get these poor, desperate people who want to work but can't because of the verification process.  I advise them to be weary of the companies that do send them to work.  They will be grossly underpaid, get the lowest types of work and sadly be treated terribly.

    When I was in college, I volunteered for Amnesty International's offices in Dallas that helped Central Americans that had been tortured that came to the US for a better life.  It was appalling to hear of the stories that some of these refugees suffered at the hands of unscrupulous employers here in the US.  

    Until Congress has the GUTS to come up with REAL and compassionate immigration reform, this madness of raids and the seperation of families will go on.  

    For me, I will do my part in helping those I can without breaking the law.  But sometimes, it breaks my heart.

    One day, I would like your permission to post an in-depth diary on this subject Jeralyn.  When I took my LSAT, my written question was somewhere along the lines of immigration and the workforce.

    does your heart break for the legal workers whose (3.00 / 2) (#2)
    by suzieg on Sat Aug 23, 2008 at 03:35:43 AM EST
    ss numbers have been stolen and their lives turned upside down as a result? Until this has happened to you as it has to me, you'll find no sympathy from me.

    I've also worked in an employment agency in the late 80s and my heart broke for the AA candidates. I saw the code words to identify them in their files such as Whitney Houston look-a-like and to which firms not to send them to and which would use us as an excuse as to why they had a minority of AA employees - it was not overt, but it was there!

    My first task in the morning was to call the SS office to verify their I-9 forms - it took all but 10 minutes, even had a person allocated to our office to speed the process. So all the excuses companies state as burdensom are a crock.

    18 years ago, I was selected as a honorary godmother, by a family of 6 AA kids, when I met them through Child Advocates and who could not, for the first time, find a summer job this summer because they could not speak Spanish and were told that they wanted only Hispanics because they worked better and harder - is your heart breaking for them?   Mine did...

    No one talks about the devastating consequences illegal immigration has perpetuated on the AA community. I'm more sympathetic to Americans who suffer at the hands of people who purposely break our laws and feel entitled to a job for doing so! The madness has to stop!


    Perhaps you are unaware ... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Nightprowlkitty on Sat Aug 23, 2008 at 10:50:25 AM EST
    ... of the kind of raids the ICE are performing.

    Perhaps you are unaware that a federal agency, rather than judges, are ramming undocumented workers through a system that is unjust.

    Regardless of how you feel about immigration, there is no justification for the kind of raid that was committed in Postville, Iowa.

    Families ripped apart.  A community devastated.  Folks made to sign plea deals that put them in jail for six months before deportation with no way to provide for their families.

    This story over at the Sanctuary contains the full essay written by Erik Camayd-Freixas, who has served for 23 years as a certified Spanish interpreter for federal courts.

    The proceedings in Postville, Iowa were part of a "pilot program" dreamed up by "heckuva good job" ICE, headed by the Bush-appointed Monica Goodling clone Julie Myers.  It subverts the law, does not allow defense attorneys and judges to really try any cases, and abuses only the migrant workers but not their employers.

    I highly recommend everyone educate themselves as to what is really going on instead of falling for knee-jerk reactions to their own feelings towards immigration and undocumented workers.

    This is no way to fix the immigration problem.  It is of a piece with Bush's federal agencies' bad work on every important issue in the US, from the environment, to housing and now to "enforcement" of immigration laws.


    thank goodness for this thread. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Christy1947 on Sat Aug 23, 2008 at 11:56:18 AM EST
    One of the evilest problems with Postville was that the court and the prosecutors worked out a script from which the judge agreed not to stray, Before any of the arrests occurred. No judicial discretion  or independence, or grey cells, were in operation during any of the hearings which were done in gangs, and not individually, groups of ten, five up and five down. If they are going to do this again in Mississippi, something very serious must be done because the whole point of judges is an independent party to the process who considers defendants individually, not like boxes of eggs, a dozen at a time. It appeared to me at the time that the position of DOJ was that illegal immigrants had no rights which the court or the DOJ was bound to consider, despite that nasty constitutional word, which is 'persons' not 'citizens.' I should not be surprised I guess that the next step is the Mukasy plan to allow investigations, searches, etc, against American citizens without probable cause, which he now wants blessed by the Congress. Hello police state. there is a NYT article available on this.

    Second annoying problem: I wonder if what they are doing is making a run at clearing out all the workers who came in to do Katrina cleanup and repair work, with all that federal money. Who is going to finish it if the contractors couldn't find domestic workers to do it?  It hasn't gotten done anywhere else either.


    Ur an assuming (none / 0) (#4)
    by txpolitico67 on Sat Aug 23, 2008 at 11:15:26 AM EST

    Don't try to pontificate to ME about legal workers!  When "legal" workers, no matter what their race, have a KABILLION excuses to NOT go to work everyday, my sympathy is ZILCH!

    You don't even know who you're talking to.  I am on the front lines of this industry. And have been for many years.  I have to go out and stake out clients, assure them that we will find them qualified workers, and these "legal" workers say they will go to work but can't because of:

    1.  It interferes with their welfare benefits
    2.  They cannot pass the criminal background cks
    3.  They cannot pass drug screenings
    4.  Or just have "something else to do"

    I know that AA's are disproportionately unemployed because of STUPID racist bias. I would invite you to come to one of our job fairs we have in-house.  90% of the participants are AA.  I know I do my absolute best to find those who want to work, a job.

    So spare me the legal worker crap because the legal workers of ALL races have gamed the churches and the welfare system enough to get their rent paid, utilities and enroll in food stamp and WIC programs.  Why work when St Francis of Assisted Living will pay your rent?

    I am a self-described progressive who is ALL about helping my fellow man.  But when my fellow man doesn't want to help him or herself, well, that's their problem.


    Interesting Follow-up (none / 0) (#6)
    by News 21 on Wed Aug 27, 2008 at 01:14:18 PM EST
    Apparently Howard Industries is now advertising heavily for new employees, and locals are lining up to apply for the jobs. Does this mean immigrants really are taking jobs from legal workers, or does it show how much American industry needs immigrant workers to get by? Regardless, the reaction in La. seems to be a lot more anti-immigrant than in Postville. (I blogged about the raid here.)