Congressman Al Green Attends Homeland Security Field Hearing, Decries August ICE Raids that Caused 680 Workers to Be Arrested but Not One Owner

Nov 7, 2019

(Tougaloo, MS) – On Thursday, November 7, 2019, Congressman Al Green attended the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security’s field hearing titled, Immigration Raids: Impacts and Aftermath on Mississippi Communities. Congressman Green released the following statement:

“On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided seven poultry processing plants to capture and deport undocumented workers. The raids (or ‘workplace enforcement actions’ as ICE defines them) led to the arrest of 680 hardworking Mississippian parents, teenagers, neighbors, and friends, who were used as a tool to make good on President Trump’s campaign promise to crack down on immigration. 

“These raids join a laundry list of executive actions rooted in invidious discrimination. While ICE targeted these blue-collar undocumented workers, no punitive action has been taken against their employers for hiring individuals without proper work authorization as required by law. 

“Additionally, these raids were a tragic reiteration of family separation. This time – instead of babies being separated from their mothers at the border with no plan for reunion in sight – children were left waiting at school or with caregivers unaware that many of their parents would not be able to retrieve them. Schools, various social services, and the offices of local elected officials were not given prior notice of the raids and were left scrambling for solutions to ensure the safety as well as the shelter of these children.
“Once arrested, the 680 workers were forced to patiently wait to use one of only 11 phones to make calls to their families informing them of their arrests.  This extreme lack of preparation by ICE served only to exacerbate the effects on Mississippi communities.

“The August ICE raids reflect a complete disregard for humane policies, inflicting significant harm on impacted communities by straining limited resources, separating families, and decreasing overall participation in the local economy. There are diverse communities across America that may be one ICE raid away from suffering the same fate. We heard the testimonies of witnesses – including a local sheriff and mayor – who gave their accounts about how these raids have brought damaging effects to Mississippi communities. I would like to thank Chairman Bennie Thompson, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Steve Cohen, and the Homeland Security staff for coordinating this field hearing to examine the impact of the largest single-state immigration raid in our Nation’s history. We must return to Washington with a sense of duty to fight for effective, comprehensive immigration reform with these communities in mind.”