Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Recent ICE raids rock rural towns where workers lived

One week after 680 chicken-plant employees in Mississippi were arrested in the largest immigration sting in more than a decade, the towns where they lived and worked are still reeling.

Many businesses that serve local immigrants have seen a sharp decline in revenue since the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid, and some may have to close. The seven communities most affected range in size from about 300 people to 12,000, Justin Vicory, Lici Beveridge and Alissa Zhu report for the Jackson Clarion Ledger.

More than 300 of the people originally detained have been released with orders to appear in front of immigration judges, but though they're back in the community for now, they're unlikely to be able to work, and therefore can't spend as much at local businesses, the Clarion Ledger reports.

Southern Mississippi residents interviewed by the Clarion Ledger seemed to have mixed feelings about the raid. Haily Gaskill, who manages a convenience store in Bay Hill, said her business will be hurt by the raid since it's the last such store heading out of town. She empathized with the affected workers, saying that many locals won't work, but that immigrants, who "get up every morning and bust their asses" are being "punished," the newspaper reports.

Teri Graham, who works at a Bay Springs fruit and vegetable stand, told the Clarion Ledger that "I think they’re hardworking people who are trying to improve themselves, but I also think the jobs should be given to local people."

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