This week in Mississippi, hundreds of children came home from school to empty houses, left terrified and wondering if they will see their parents again. Following what is being reported as one of the largest worksite raids ever in a single state, about 680 immigrant workers at poultry plants across the state were taken into custody.
We firmly believe that families belong together, and taking parents away from their children is inhumane and unacceptable. The targeting and detaining of undocumented workers is completely antithetical to our mission of supporting parents and families as they seek to care for their children and loved ones.
Furthermore, these raids create a climate where corporations are emboldened to take advantage of undocumented workers, and workers are in turn fearful to stand up for their rights at the risk of facing detention and deportation. The poultry industry, which frequently relies on immigrant labor, is notorious for its dangerous and exploitative working conditions.
Just this year, the USDA announced it would allow chicken plants to increase their already-breakneck line speeds, despite evidence that this would endanger workers, especially the most vulnerable, including pregnant employees. Many of the detained workers were employed by Koch Foods, which settled a lawsuit last year alleging Latina workers were being subjected to both racial and sexual harassment by supervisors.
In Mississippi and across the South, where workers often have fewer protections to begin with, it is especially critical to protect and support the region’s hardworking families, along with the brave, dedicated advocates fighting alongside them. We’re committed to supporting our partners on the ground working to protect the rights of all workers and families to care for themselves and their loved ones without fear, especially in the South.
For more information, please follow and support the work of: