Recently, a raid left immigrant communities in Mississippi feeling vulnerable and afraid. On Wednesday, hundreds of immigration officials detained nearly 700 undocumented immigrants in six different Mississippi cities, including Canton, Pelahatchie, Carthage, Walnut Grove, Morton and Bay Springs. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Mike Hurst said the raids are “believed to be the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in our nation’s history.” Since then, we’ve begun to see the painful aftermath and plenty who have voiced their anger at what has taken place. Joining the opposition are Black Mississippians. Several organizations teamed up to write a letter addressing the injustices that immigrant communities in their state are facing.
“We, as descendants of enslaved African people, stand here today in solidarity, in determination, and in righteous outrage at the unwarranted and heavy-handed actions of the federal government,” the letter reads. “On August 7, 2019, hundreds of ICE [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement] agents descended upon [six] cities in our state, where they arrested nearly 700 workers because they might be undocumented. These men and women were hauled away, busload after busload, with none of the workers able to see their families and their children – children who would return from the first day of school to find their parents ripped from their lives.”
The letter goes on to call the raids “immoral, cruel, inhumane, and inherently undemocratic.” And that while the words inscribed on Statue of Liberty suggest that we are a nation that welcomes immigrants, these raids are proof that we don’t do that. The groups argue that this set of immigrants is treated worse than those from European countries because of their skin color. “Because these immigrants are brown, the president and some of our own elected officials have decided that these people are not worthy of compassion, inclusion or basic human decency.”
The letter – which is signed by The People’s Advocacy Institute, The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Black With No Chaser, Jaribu Hill/the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights and more – demands better. Read the entire letter here.