United in Love and Solidarity Standing Against All Forms of Bigotry, White Supremacy
The events of these past couple of weeks have been overwhelming, producing a mixture of emotions — grief, anger, sadness, frustration. Whether from the shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton — or the workplace immigration raids in Mississippi — communities have experienced levels of trauma and pain that for most, will not be forgotten. We share our love and solidarity with the families and communities, colleagues and friends who have been directly touched by these tragedies, and who are on the frontlines — coping, supporting, and organizing resistance.
More to follow on the latest blow to immigration, immigrant rights and well-being — the public charge rule — in days to come.
Please continue to help with financial assistance for these communities. Here are links for donations:
Mississippi – this is a group fund to assist workers and families affected by immigration raids – donations will be divided among groups doing legal and direct support work: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms-raids
A humanitarian fund for immigrant workers and families affected by the Mississippi is being established. Info on making contributions will be shared soon to help those who have lost their livelihoods, and whose families need support for food and housing, car leases, health care and other daily living expenses.
The Southeast Immigrant Rights Network has set up a Facebook donation fund to help families call their detained loved ones, who are being held at sites in Lousiana: https://www.facebook.com/donate/1076329772561847/2609516229113234/
El Paso relief fund for shooting victims and families: https://pdnfoundation.org/give-to-a-fund/el-paso-victims-relief-fund
Gilroy relief fund for shooting victims and families: https://www.siliconvalleycf.org/gilroy-relief-fund
Resistance and Resilience — Raids and Shootings
In the face of these devastating events, it is all the more inspiring, to witness the communities’ shows of resilience, support, and solidarity that have for some, stood in open defiance of the fear, racial hatred and division that has spewed from the Trump Administration.
Such was the posture of many who joined a press conference Thursday in Jackson, Mississippi, (picture at right) hosted by the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance (MIRA), a member of NNIRR, in response to Wednesday’s ICE raids on seven food processing plants. Some 680 immigrant workers were arrested in the largest coordinated set of raids ever in a single state. Representatives from community, faith, labor, civil rights groups; African American, Latino, white — spoke in one voice in solidarity with the immigrant community and against the string of Trump’s racist, xenophobic rhetoric and policies.
“The shock waves went through the state immediately. The community is terrorized. Many immigrants have gone into hiding, afraid to show up for work, afraid to take their kids to school, feeling unsafe to go to the store for food or supplies.” — MIRA
The immigration raids, which had been planned for some time, took place on the first day of school, and teachers and others had to scramble to find information and provide for the safety of hundreds of traumatized and frightened school children whose parents were swept up in the raids. (Although ICE claimed it had ‘notified’ the schools.) A few hundred workers have so far been released “for humanitarian reasons”, with ankle monitors, and are expected to get court dates; among those released are the parents of children. Over 200 workers will face federal charges that include use of false documents. Advocates and lawyers are coordinating efforts to provide legal representation and to assist families with important steps such as securing guardian agreements for children.
As we have seen for over three decades, these immigration workplace raids seriously impact workers, families and communities — but have little or no effect on patterns of migration. ICE had recently stated that they had sent over 3,200 inspection notices to various worksites to ensure “employer compliance”, but raids such as the ones that took place yesterday were clearly intended to serve the Administration’s strategy of “zero tolerance”, identifying and deporting as many immigrants as possible. To date, there is no information about employer penalties, and companies who had been raided held “job fairs” the day after the raids.
Unscrupulous employers have used raids, or the threat of raids, to destroy worker organizing for better wages and working conditions, creating an atmosphere of intimidation that affects all employees, regardless of immigration status. These food processing companies are know for the “3D’s” — dirty, dangerous and demeaning — working conditions and routinely hire undocumented, immigrant and workers of color. “Somehow” they seem to escape labor law enforcement. Yet, it is hardly coincidental that Koch Foods, owner of the processing plants targeted in the raids, had last year negotiated at $3.75 billion settlement in a class action suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), for sexual harassment, national origin and race discrimination, and retaliation against Latino workers at one of the plants.
The raids clearly complement the promised “targeted” raids in communities, serving to conveniently “sweep up” hundreds of immigrant workers, many of whom have worked for years at the plants and have strong ties to the local communities. Unfortunately, we are likely to see more raids in other parts of the country.
Destructive, hostile links
Apart from the fact that the raids took place as Donald Trump traveled to Dayton and to El Paso — site of the deadliest violence against Latinos (including Mexican nationals) in recent U.S. history — to offer his “comfort” to those communities, there is a link between the raids and the shootings: Trump’s continued diatribe against immigrants as “criminals”, “dangerous”, job-takers. The scope and scale of the Mississippi raids purposely serve to reinforce his divisive and negative messaging.
The murderous attack in Gilroy, California just two weeks ago, in which three people were gunned down, was specifically racially motivated, an anti-immigrant attack on “Hispanics” in that farming community in the center of the state’s rich agricultural lands. In both the El Paso and Gilroy murders, the shooters, young white men, had shared racist, xenophobic messages echoing the racist “replacement” theories of the far Right that have found a resurgence in the “invasion” rhetoric of Donald Trump.
If anything, the horrendous violence of the past two weeks has given rise to a better understanding and new efforts to bridge the problems of gun violence, anti-immigrant demagoguery and policies, and white supremacy. We cannot afford to operate in “silos” as racism and xenophobia converge into targeted violence.
Demand that U.S. hotel chains refuse to let ICE
use their properties as jails for immigrants
This month, NNIRR is joining with several other organizations to send a message to Best Western Hotels and Resorts, Drury Hotels, Extended Stay America, G6 Hospitality, InterContinental Hotels Group, Radisson, Red Lion Hotels, Red Roof and Wyndham Hotels. Please join us!
As part of it’s zero tolerance strategy, the Administration is planning to use hotels for immigrant detention. Some hotel chains — Marriott International, Hilton Hotels, Choice Hotels, and Hyatt Hotels Corporation — have already pledged to reject ICE requests to jail immigrants on their properties. But we need to keep the pressure on other hotel chains to go on record, make sure that those who have released statements keep their commitments — and ensure that franchisees and staff do the same. Hotels have collaborated with ICE in the past, including a well-known case of Motel 6, which was sued for sharing client information with ICE.
Read the message to the hotels, sign the petition and share this link: