FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2022
Contact: Jess (IAJE), email@example.com
U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh Meets With Immigrant Workers Impacted by Workplace Raids in Mississippi
Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity hosts Sec. Walsh at headquarters in MS;
a step to work together to “turn the tide against exploitation”
Jackson, Mississippi – On Thursday, June 30, 2022, immigrant workers and members of the Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity (IAJE of MS) met with U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh at IAJE’s new headquarters on West Fortification Street in Jackson, Mississippi. Sec. Walsh heard directly from workers impacted by ICE’s 2019 workplace raids and about the rampant abuse facing migrant workers across Mississippi. See Sec. Walsh’s tweet with a photo from the meeting.
“Migrant workers in this state are highly exploited and dehumanized, working in dangerous and precarious conditions, as day laborers or in the poultry industry. We are excited about building this relationship and trust with partners at the US labor department to confront those abuses,” said Lorena Quiroz, Executive Director at IAJE. “This visit is an important step and a foundation that we can build on. I very much believe that together we can turn the tide against exploitation in Mississippi.”
The workers testified to the rampant abuses facing immigrant and indigenous workers in Mississippi, and about the fear caused by ICE’s infamous workplace raids in 2019. Others spoke about widespread workplace harassment, wagetheft and discrimination.
“I’ve worked for 17 years in poultry plants, and I’ve witnessed and experienced all sorts of abuse, and how workers stay silent because of their status,” shared one worker who was impacted by the raids and part of a major wage theft recovery effort. “With IAJE, we worked together to recover at least some of what was unpaid after the raids. But many will not speak out or file a complaint because there is fear.”
IAJE and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) have called on the US Labor Department and Department of Homeland Security to protect workers that were victims of the 2019 workplace raids, with deportation forbearance and work authorization. In August 2021, on the second anniversary of the raids, Mississippi workers delivered a formal request to the US DOL offices in Jackson, MS. See more examples of IAJE’s efforts here and here.
This August will mark three years since ICE’s workplace raids arrested 680 workers in Mississippi.