Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Did a Mississippi Raid Protect Rightwing Politicians?

By David Bacon, TruthOut
August 31, 2008

LAUREL, MS (8/31/08) -- On August 25, immigration agents swooped down on Howard Industries, a Mississippi electrical equipment factory, taking 481 workers to a privately-run detention center in Jena, Louisiana. A hundred and six women were also arrested at the plant, and released wearing electronic monitoring devices on their ankles, if they had children, or without them, if they were pregnant. Eight workers were taken to Federal court in Hattiesburg, where they were charged with aggravated identity theft.

Afterwards Barbara Gonzalez, spokesperson for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), stated the raid took place because of a tip by a "union member" two years before. Other media accounts focused on an incident in which plant workers allegedly cheered as their coworkers were led away by ICE agents. The articles claim the plant was torn by tension between immigrant and non-immigrant workers, and that unions in Mississippi are hostile to immigrants. [...]

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David Bacon's new book, Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants, has just been released. For a schedule of book events, go to:

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