JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi’s immigrant workers in the state say they are essential employees not getting the treatment they deserve while working long hours for low wages.
The Immigrants Alliance for Justice and Equity wants safer workplaces, the end to deportation and the return of deported workers in detention. The workers are reaching out to the president for help.
Latino community leader Efren Nunez carried a petition for President Joe Biden to the Mississippi Office of the Department of Labor demanding the end to what immigrants say are discriminatory practices against them.
The Immigrants Alliance for Justice and Equity is calling on the president to undo the policies of the Trump administration that they say discriminate against them.
“We’re a hard working community that demands that we’re treated with dignity,” said Efren Nunez in Spanish through interpreter Lorena Quiroz. “It is time that the idea that we are less than stops.”
Organizers say the August 2019 ICE raids were in retaliation for workers organizing against the discrimination and abuses they reportedly suffered at poultry plants.
“Often times we carry these small rural towns economically that often times without our labor they could not progress,” said immigrant worker Ruel through the interpreter.
A moment of silence was held to remember the life of Edgar Lopez deported during the raids and held for more than a year in detention.
“He was on his way home. This was his home,” said Immigrants Alliance for Justice and Equity Executive Director Lorena Quiroz. “He lived here for decades. He was coming back to his wife and children when he was murdered at the border.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, Tougaloo College’s Institute for the Study of Modern Day Slavery, the Mississippi Rising Coalition and The People’s Advocacy Institute also participated.
The immigrant support groups are asking for Biden to issue and Executive Order to return workers deported during the raids be returned and provided with work permits.