This is breaking our heart here at Justice News Network.
The American Police State will soon be coming after ANYONE who does not meet the standards of “Citizen”!!! What will those standards be in this age of Oligarchy? Oh WE get it now complain about worker conditions at your slave labor camp and ICE shows up to keep you all in line. Amazing! Jnn Reports
From Think Progress Aug 8 2019
Excerpt>>>> ICE raids followed a massive sexual harassment settlement at Mississippi plants. The raids could discourage future complaints of worker abuse.
Wednesday’s raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which led to nearly 700 workers being detained, targeted seven Koch Foods Inc. poultry plants in Morton, Mississippi. As it happens, last year, Koch Foods settled a $3.75 million lawsuit for racial discrimination, national origin discrimination, and sexual harassment against its Latinx workers in that very same Morton facility.
As labor reporter Mike Elk notes at Paydaesy Report, it may not be a coincidence that the Morton plant was raided. There have been at least two other plants, one in Salem, Ohio, and another in Morristown, Tennessee, where ICE raids have followed complaints of worker conditions. Last year, for example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Fresh Mark over $200,000 for three separate incidents in which proper safety guards were not in place in its Salem meatpacking plant. A week later, it was raided by ICE.
Aug 9 -19 In Mississippi>>>
Friends, coworkers and family watch as U.S. immigration officials raid the Koch Foods Inc., plant in Morton, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. U.S. immigration officials raided several Mississippi food processing plants on Wednesday and signaled that the early-morning strikes were part of a large-scale operation targeting owners as well as employees. (Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, AP)
MORTON, Miss. – As Thursday morning dawned hot and bright, Desiree Hughes soldiered through the 24th hour of her wait in a parking lot of a chicken processing plant here.
Two of her friends had been seized by immigration officials during a raid the day before, in an operation that resulted in about 680 arrests from seven different food processing plants across Mississippi. It was the largest workplace sting in at least a decade.
In the group was a young woman wearing an ankle monitor. She said she was taken during the raid, processed and let go with a GPS tracker. When ICE agents came to seize workers at her plant, she tried to run away. She tripped and fell, leaving a mottled bruise along the length of her shin.
The woman’s husband had also been taken to processing, but he still had not returned to Morton. A translator working with the woman said she heard her husband was on a bus headed for Louisiana.
On Thursday, ICE spokesman Bryan Cox confirmed that 300 of the people detained by ICE had been released. The remaining 380 are in federal custody.
One woman in this video says she has
been working at this plant for NINETEEN Years!
Ankle monitors and informants: How ICE chose the 7 Mississippi food plants to raid
Two Koch Foods employees share what it was like at the plant when the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency raided Koch Foods. Barbara Gauntt, Clarion-Ledger
Over more than a decade, hundreds of undocumented workers across the country told federal officials they worked at food processing plants in Mississippi.
In some instances, immigrants were released from detention and outfitted with ankle monitors while awaiting deportation proceedings. Authorities tracking their GPS coordinates were able to see they were coming and going from Mississippi food processing plants.
On Wednesday, hundreds of immigration officials descended on seven Mississippi plants owned by four companies — Peco Foods, Koch Foods, PH Food and Pearl River Foods. They are suspected of “willfully and unlawfully employing” undocumented workers, recently unsealed search warrants say.
Handcuffed workers await transportation to a processing center following a raid by U.S. immigration officials at Koch Foods Inc., plant in Morton, Miss. U.S. immigration officials raided several Mississippi food processing plants on Wednesday and signaled that the early-morning strikes were part of a large-scale operation targeting owners as well as employees. (Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, AP)
Aug 9 -19 More on the Background Of Injustice from The Washington Post
The Immigrants are there working the Southern States poultry industry plants due to a Anti-Union Strategy begun in the 1990s. NOW these workers are targets of the Police State.
#AmericaTheUgly! We are not proud of our country run by the Oligarchy who plays by the rules they BUY at every level of government. Yet the companies and their managements never pay any cost of responsibility for setting this all up and bring these low wage workers there in the first place, Tragic!
On Wednesday people across the United States were shocked by the news that ICE raids at a handful of Mississippi chicken plants had resulted in the largest single-state immigration enforcement action in U.S. history, with nearly 700 people detained. As surprising as the news was, coming on the heels of a deadly mass shooting that targeted Latinos, perhaps just as surprising was the location of the raids in the deep, rural South.
The prominence of Latinos in Mississippi’s chicken plants and communities today was not accidental. It was calculated, strategic and intimately related to deeply rooted structures of labor exploitation in the region. Beginning in the 1990s, Latin American immigrants were recruited to the state by the poultry industry, where they arrived to work in some of the lowest-paid and most dangerous jobs in the country. This week’s raids target deeply rooted workers and families and leave behind a devastated community, while also terrorizing many others across the country.
The roots of the heavily Latino workforces in Southern poultry plants lie in the growing American appetite for chicken during the 1990s, and the stirrings of a labor movement by African American plant workers. As poultry production expanded, workers’ pay and opportunities remained stagnant. As a result, labor organizing among the plants’ predominantly African American workforce began to gain traction.
Facing the prospect of its first union contract negotiations and in search of more “flexible” (read: exploitable and expendable) workers, in 1994 a chicken plant in Morton, Miss., headed to Miami in search of immigrant labor.
Advertising in Cuban stores and local papers, it took the poultry processor just one week to fill a Greyhound bus of immigrants eager for work. This experiment marked the beginning of the plant’s formal Hispanic Project, which included not just recruitment and transportation from Florida but also the provision of housing — mostly in dilapidated and overcrowded trailers — as well as local transportation and leisure activities, all for fees deducted from workers’ paychecks that often reduced their meager earnings to below minimum wage.
In its roughly four years of operation, the Hispanic Project recruited nearly 5,000 workers to two Mississippi towns with a combined population of less than 10,000. Not everyone stayed, but this scheme caught on, and other plants began recruiting Latinx immigrant workers from Florida, Texas and even farther afield.
Getting creative, one poultry processor offered its workers $600 for each new employee they recruited who stayed at least three months. Entrepreneurial individuals took full advantage of this incentive to recruit family, friends and others in their social networks in the United States and in their home countries. Once these connections were made, the plants no longer had to leave the state to recruit foreign workers. In the words of the architect of the Hispanic Project, “They were right here.”
By the time I arrived to work in Mississippi’s poultry communities alongside the Mississippi Poultry Workers’ Center in 2002, over half of the country’s quarter-million poultry workers were immigrants, most of them in the South. A mapping of poultry production and Latino population growth shows that poultry has been a major driving force of a demographic transformation in the region. In Mississippi, it was the driving force, increasing the Latino population in some poultry towns by over 1000 percent in the 1990s.
And this transformation of the poultry workforce has only continued over time. Today’s Mississippi poultry workers are from nearly every part of the continent, hailing from Argentina, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Cuba, Honduras, Venezuela and other Latin American and Caribbean countries. They are doing work that is hazardous, painful and often degrading. They work long hours for low pay, scratching out a living so that the rest of us can buy cheap chicken.
And they do so because they were literally invited, recruited and incentivized to come. For ICE to be conducting raids in Mississippi ignores this history and ignores how the poultry workers recruited to these towns a quarter century ago have laid down roots. They have made Mississippi home and raised families.
Though industry leaders didn’t predict it at the time, the Hispanic Project changed the landscape of Mississippi and the rural South. In poultry towns across the region, today you can find authentic Mexican food, pickup soccer games, an abundance of Spanish-language churches, and schools brimming with bright and eager young Latinx Americans, U.S. citizens who are growing up as Southern as their peers.
Rooted members of the community, regardless of immigration status, deserve better than to be ripped away from their jobs and loved ones. Although neighbors and community organizations like the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance are working to support affected children and families, these raids ripple through communities, devastating individuals and families, and the most vulnerable people pay the highest price. As the alt-right celebrates this wreckage as another win for white nationalists, let us keep in view that these immigrants are here because 25 years ago one Mississippi poultry executive conceived an inventive idea, to flood the processing lines with eager and compliant immigrant workers.
And while they come at enormous costs to thriving, vibrant communities, these raids do little to affect immigration trends; people continue to migrate to the United States to survive. What they do affect is the working conditions for everyone. With the threat of family separation, detention and deportation hanging over people’s heads, immigrant workers are less likely to organize and less likely to speak out against poor conditions — and employers are more likely to take advantage of them. This ripples through the economy, depressing wages for U.S.-born workers, as well. The mounting threat of deportation and rising xenophobia help keep workers compliant, serving owners’ interests and consumers’ pocketbooks — but harming the people who prepare our food.
anthropologist Angela Stuesse ON npr WITH MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
We’re going back now to the raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a handful of Mississippi chicken processing plants earlier this week, where nearly 700 people were detained. While many people were shocked by the timing of the raids on the opening days of school and just days after Latinos were targeted at a deadly mass shooting in Texas, others might have been puzzled at the location – the Deep South, far from a southern border city. Our next guest says that that should not have been a surprise. She says many poultry processing plants have been recruiting and have relied on Latino immigrant workers since the 1990s.
Angela Stuesse is an anthropologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has spent years studying immigrant labor in the Deep South, including research around the poultry plants like the ones that were targeted this week. Professor Stuesse, thanks so much for joining us.
ANGELA STUESSE: Happy to be with you.
MARTIN: You wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post this week about this. You said, the roots of this lie in two key events. You said, Americans developed a growing appetite for chicken, and African American people who worked in these plants started to organize because their workload was increasing greatly; their wages were not. So faced with this, you know, sort of organizing by these workers, the poultry industry started to do what? What did they do?
STUESSE: Well, they started thinking about where they could find a bigger supply of workers, both because they were producing more chicken and had vacancies on the line that they needed to fill and because African American workers who had been trying to organize unions over the ’80s and ’90s were starting to gain some traction. And the one chicken plant in particular in Morton, Miss., was facing the prospects of negotiating a contract with this union. And so they had the idea that they could go to South Florida in search of immigrant workers. And they had a contact in Miami or outside of Miami at a Cuban store who let them come advertise at the store. And they put advertisements in the local papers. And, yeah, they say that it took them just one week to fill a whole bus with people eager to try their hand at poultry processing in Mississippi.
MARTIN: One of the things you pointed out in your piece – you said that you – when you arrived to work in Mississippi’s poultry communities along the Mississippi Poultry Workers’ Center – this is in 2002. You said that over half of the country’s quarter-million poultry workers were immigrants, most of them in the South. So that’s a lot of people. So can we assume that people have put down roots there?
STUESSE: Absolutely. I mean, there’s been a dramatic transformation of the South since the 1990s, and I attribute a lot of that to poultry processing across the region and their recruitment efforts. But people have been here for a quarter-century, and they’ve definitely put down roots. I live in North Carolina now. You drive through rural communities in North Carolina and Mississippi, Alabama, many other southern states. And you find Mexican food stores which weren’t there before this. You find people playing pickup soccer on the street corners. There are Spanish-language churches. People have absolutely put down roots, and their children are in school and are as southern as anyone else.
MARTIN: You’ve spent a lot of time talking with poultry workers over the many years that you’ve been doing this research. What do some of them tell you about why they do this work, what it’s like for them and why they stay, even though, as you point out, it’s really hard?
STUESSE: Yeah, it’s terribly hard and degrading on workers’ bodies and demoralizing on their minds. People stay in this work because it’s one of the few options that they have. The folks that I knew who put down roots in Mississippi – or who I know who’ve put down roots in Mississippi say that they have stayed in Mississippi, particularly, because it’s a tranquil place to live and to raise children. They feel like it’s calm compared to maybe more urban spaces that they’ve been. They’ve felt largely welcome and have been able to sort of live their lives under the radar, feed their families and hope to get ahead.
MARTIN: When you say it’s degrading, demeaning, what are you talking about? Can you just describe what do you mean by that? Why do you say that?
STUESSE: So, certainly, it’s a physically demanding, repetitive job. Workers make the same motion on the line up to 30,000 times in a shift, so bodies wear out, quickly, in the poultry plants. And, you know, African American workers have been on the lines for, now, three or four generations. And I had someone tell me, you know, they just use you up, and they reach back for your kids. So part of it is sort of the wasting on the body but I think beyond that partly because workers are so vulnerable and don’t have a lot of other options in poultry, whether they be undocumented immigrants or African American workers or other working-class folks.
Chicken plants will do what they can to protect their bottom line. And so some of the stories that I heard working with the Mississippi Poultry Workers’ Center – the biggest complaint that people would have is that they weren’t allowed to take a break to use the bathroom. So people are using the bathroom in their clothes on the line, which is, you know, embarrassing, degrading, demoralizing.
MARTIN: You’re saying that these raids have a ripple effect far beyond the immediate people affected. And there were, like, hundreds of people affected as we know. But what is that ripple effect in your view?
STUESSE: The local economy revolves around poultry and serving poultry workers, right? So the – you could think about the gas station around the corner, where people get gas, where people go to – on break to get food. You could think about the sort of more informal economies that spring up to support workers, maybe people selling food in the parking lots or watching their – watching the children of workers. I think folks who are not in the immigrant community or working in the plants necessarily are also feeling the effects of these raids.
MARTIN: That was Angela Stuesse. She’s a cultural anthropologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She’s the author of “Scratching Out A Living: Latinos, Race, And Work In The Deep South.” Thank you so much for talking with us.
STUESSE: Thank you.