Monday, August 25, 2008

Another ICE Raid in Non-Metro America

The raid today was in Laurel, Mississippi, population 18,393, and its target was a Howard Industries plant. Here's Adam Nossiter's report in the New York Times, which says 350 unauthorized migrants were working there. According to the 2000 Census, almost 4% of Laurel's population was Hispanic.

The story notes parallels between this raid and the one in May in Postville, Iowa, which I've commented on here and here.
The raid follows a similar large-scale immigration operation at a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, in May when nearly 400 workers were detained. That raid was a significant escalation of the Bush administration’s enforcement practices because those detained were not simply deported, as in previous raids, but were imprisoned for months on criminal charges of using false documents.
We don't know, yet, of course, how those detained in this Mississippi raid will be "processed" by federal judges, although an ICE spokesperson said the workers would be taken to a detention center to “await the outcome of their cases.” No lawyers were present as the detainees were interrogated, finger-printed, and "processed for removal from the U.S."

The ICE spokesperson also said that 50 of the detainees would not be taken to the center but rather would be “released into the community.” Such releases are apparently based on so-called humanitarian reasons such as the need to take care of children.

For more information on Latina/os in the non-metropolitan South, here's a link to my working paper, "Latina/os, Locality and Law in the Rural South," which is forthcoming in the Harvard Latino Law Review (2009).

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