28 August 2008

Ms. Foundation Grantee Calls for ICE Raid Moratorium

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials rounded up almost 600 assembly plant workers on Tuesday in the small, rural town of Laurel, Mississippi in the largest raid on a single workplace in U.S. history. Local communities are reeling in its wake, as families have been torn apart, the plant’s operations suspended, and a climate of fear has settled over surrounding towns.

Upon surveying the humanitarian crisis the raid has created, Ms. Foundation Grantee Mississippi Immigrants' Rights Alliance (MIRA) is calling for a moratorium on such actions and asking supporters to join them in contacting federal legislators [find yours here] to demand a stop to the attacks on immigrant families and workers.

Of the 600 or so workers caught up in the raid, approximately 100 have been allowed to return to their homes to care for children or for other humanitarian reasons. Over 475 individuals, however, are being held four hours away in a federal facility in Jena, Louisiana where they await deportation hearings.

In addition to providing legal assistance and coordinating volunteer lawyers to provide services to the detained workers, MIRA is working with local organizations to provide basic necessities to families. Since breadwinners have either been detained or confined to their homes, many families now lack even access to food. MIRA has set up a relief fund to support affected families and the work of volunteers at http://www.yourmira.org/.

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