Local 1317's collective bargaining agreement expired at the beginning of August, and the ICE raid took place as the union was negotiating a new contract seeking wage increases, better vacation benefits and health care improvements. Activists say the raid in Laurel will help the company resist such demands and could undermine progressive coalition-building.
Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 11, No. 21 - August 30, 2008
Immigration News Briefs is a weekly supplement to Weekly News Update on the Americas, published by Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; tel 212-674-9499; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com. INB is also distributed free via email; contact email@example.com to subscribe or unsubscribe. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe. Immigration News Briefs is posted at http://immigrationnewsbriefs.blogspot.com.
Special Issue: Mississippi Factory Raided, 595 Arrested
On Aug. 25, dozens of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested approximately 595 workers in a raid on an electric transformer manufacturing facility owned by Howard Industries, Inc. in Laurel, Mississippi, a town of 20,000. The agents sealed off all the plant's exits, trapping workers inside, and executed a federal criminal search warrant for evidence relating to aggravated identity theft, fraudulent use of Social Security numbers and other crimes, as well as a civil search warrant looking for unauthorized immigrants. [ICE News Release 8/26/08; AP 8/27/08; ABC News 8/29/08; Washington Post 8/28/08]
The arrested workers were immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Brazil and Germany. Citing humanitarian reasons such as childcare, ICE released about 106 workers after fitting their ankles with electronic monitors to ensure their future appearance before a federal immigration judge. Nine other workers were transferred to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) after they were determined to be unaccompanied minors. All nine were 17 years old; one was female. [ICE 8/26/08; ABC News 8/29/08] [...]
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