The Immigration Debate in Mississippi | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

The Immigration Debate in Mississippi

Jackson Free Press' stories about the politics of immigration and the humanity of raids in Mississippi

Education

As ICE Raided, Children Cried and Educators Scrambled

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At Scott Central High School about 20 minutes from Sebastopol, 
Superintendent McGee started getting calls from the public schools in Morton that ICE had raided the Koch Foods plant there. "Hey, what do we do? Somebody came to pick a child up, but they're not on the sign-out list," McGee recalled a school official saying.

Editor's Note

EDITOR'S NOTE: Finding Belonging Amid ICE Raids and Hatefulness

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"Amid the horrible news that kept breaking around the ICE raids, there was some hope, as always. Yes, there was a lot of deserved condemnation of what was 
happening, but people were also asking how they could help."

Immigration

Beto O'Rourke: Trump Used ICE to 'Terrorize' Mississippi Hispanics

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"(Donald Trump) is terrifying this community. People who have done nothing to anybody else posed no threat to America. So there's no other reason to raid this community than to terrify this community. And that's exactly what he's done," Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said in Canton this morning.

Immigration

The Night Immigration Agents Took Two Madison Children's Father

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Around 2 a.m., Joshua Quinn's phone rang, waking him. "They took him! They took him! They took him!" cried the voice of an 11-year-old boy Quinn was helping mentor at The BARS Institute, which he started to help young boys of color in Mississippi's capital city.

Immigration

OPINION—ICE: You're Not Welcome in the South

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"I'm not safer because my government has decided its top priority is to tear families apart for the sole purpose of stoking racial division. I'm not safer because my elected officials fuel the flames of white supremacy that motivate mass shooters to target Latinx shoppers at a Wal-Mart in El Paso."

Immigration

Advocates: Mississippi Plant Fires Workers Left After Raid

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A Mississippi chicken processing plant fired most of its remaining workers after nearly 100 accused of immigration violations were arrested last week, witnesses said.

Immigration

OPINION: Answering the Call—Immigration Reform 2019

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When I heard the news of the ICE raids in my home state of Mississippi, it horrified me, but I can't say I was surprised. I come from Mississippi, where the struggle for unity and racial harmony has always been particularly tough and violent.

Immigration

Koch Foods, PECO Funded 'Chicken' PAC, Gave Thousands to Hyde-Smith, Pols

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Business executives who federal filings say "willfully and unlawfully" employed undocumented immigrants have donated thousands to high-level politicians in and outside of Mississippi, including through a special "Chicken" political action committee.

Immigration

Rep. Bennie Thompson Demands Answers, Details from AG Barr on Mississippi ICE Raids

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Congressman Bennie Thompson sent an eight-page letter and attachments to U.S. Attorney General William Barr demanding answers on why many children were "separated from their parents and terrified because they did not know where their parents were taken and detained.

Immigration

Documents: Plant Owners 'Willfully' Used Ineligible Workers

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Six of seven Mississippi chicken processing plants raided Wednesday were "willfully and unlawfully" employing people who lacked authorization to work in the United States, including workers wearing electronic monitoring bracelets at work for previous immigration violations, according to unsealed court documents.

Politics

Immigrant Families Jobless in Mississippi After 'Inhumane' ICE Raids

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Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance organizer Luis Espinoza told the Jackson Free Press on Thursday that he had spent the past two days working with families after ICE agents raided six worksites across the state on Wednesday.

Immigration

Elected Officials, Advocacy Groups, Others Address Mississippi ICE Raids

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Since ICE and U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst's office yesterday raided workplaces across Mississippi, arresting 680 people and leaving many children stranded, we have received or spotted another of responses to the roundups on social media. Here is a growing list.

Immigration

Mississippians Mobilize Against ICE Raids: 'Who They Gone Come After Tomorrow?'

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The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance hosted a press conference in response to multiple ICE workplace raids on Aug. 7 in which 650 special Homeland Security Investigation special agents executed unspecified administrative and criminal search warrants at seven sites in Mississippi.

Immigration

OPINION: After Horrific ICE Raids in Mississippi, How We Can Respond

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"How did we get here? How did the nation who once proudly welcomed the world’s tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to be free become the nation that snatches people from their communities to put them in camps?"

Immigration

After ICE Raids, Some Kids Reunited with Parents or Relatives in Mississippi

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Scott County Youth Court Prosecutor Constance Slaughter-Harvey watched Thursday morning as a few children reunited with and embraced parents whom, just a day before, they had been separated from after U.S. federal ICE agents arrested them.

Immigration

UPDATED: Mississippi ICE Raids: How to Help Children, Families (New Funding Links)

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After news broke Wednesday of the workplace immigration raids in Mississippi, with 696 arrests and leaving many children stranded at school with nowhere to go, local ministers, advocates and lawyers began mobilizing and compiling resources to share with the public.

Immigration

OPINION: As An Immigrant in Mississippi, Every Day Is a Waiting Game

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Six hundred and eighty people were arrested across Mississippi today. Not all those arrested today have children, but some do. They and their families were dealt with a trauma they may never recover from.

Immigration

Advocates: In Mississippi, ICE Agents Arrest, Tase Migrants, Documented or Not

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Children finished their first day of school with no parents to go home to tonight. Babies and toddlers remained at daycare with no guardian to pick them up. A child vainly searched a workplace parking lot for missing parents. Those are some of the many stories immigrants' rights advocates told the Jackson Free Press they heard on Wednesday

Immigration

U.S. Attorney in Mississippi to 'Aliens,' Employers: 'We're Coming After You'

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Mike Hurst, United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, discussed Homeland Security Investigations and ICE operations at an Aug. 7 press conference inside the Homeland Security Investigations building.

Immigration

Ice, DOJ Conduct 'Largest Single-State Worksite' Raid in U.S in Mississippi Today

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"The execution of federal search warrants today was simply about enforcing the rule of law in our state and throughout our great country," United States Attorney Mike Hurst said about a series of ICE raids across Mississippi on Wednesday.

Immigration

ICE Raids Food Plants on Day of Trump Visit to Grieving City

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U.S. immigration officials raided numerous Mississippi food processing plants Wednesday, arresting 680 mostly Latino workers in what marked the largest workplace sting in at least a decade.

Crime

Refugees Locked Up In Mississippi: ‘Where Are the Family Values?’

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Under the Trump administration, CoreCivic has a new mission at the Adams County Correctional Center: to house asylum seekers who are in the custody of the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement agency, also known as ICE.

City & County

EDITOR'S NOTE: None of Us Is Safe from Hate

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Each of us must use our gifts to heal our city, our state and our nation. We are kicking off our #MSCitizensAgenda to better understand challenges facing Mississippians through public gatherings, social media and deeper reporting.

National

Espy Calls for Gun Reforms, Targets 'Rise of Violent White Nationalism'

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The Democrat who lost to U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in Mississippi's 2018 U.S. Senate special election, Mike Espy, broke his post-campaign silence to call for action on gun reform and against "violent white nationalism" in an email to supporters on Monday.

Immigration

Michael Watson Wants to Flag Citizen Status When Voters Register

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If elected, Mississippi Sen. Michael Watson wants to use the secretary of state's office to run background checks on people when they register to vote—and flag people who may not be in the country legally.

Immigration

Mississippi Immigrant Rights Group Calls for Action from Lawmakers

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Members and supporters of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance held a rally to urge lawmakers to pass legislation to make life better for the state's documented and undocumented immigrants.

Politics

Espy on Mississippi Stereotypes, Public Schools and Immigration at Jackson Forum

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U.S. Senate candidate Mike Espy addressed Jacksonians at a community forum on Nov. 14 where he expounded upon and set the record straight about his stances, including his response to viral "public hanging" comments from his competitor, incumbent U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Immigration

Mississippi Immigrants: Organize Against ‘Atrocities’

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"Get out of our country, you don't belong!" When Melinda Medina hears those words, she feels sad for the person targeting her as a Hispanic woman who descends from a Mexican family.

Immigration

OPINION: Trump Administration Implicit or Explicit in the Trafficking and Slavery of Immigrant Children?

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Ask yourself, “Why are these children being moved, and why are they being moved to specific locations so far away from the border and their parents?”

Civil Rights

OPINION: Independence Week and the Delusion of Freedom

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“The delusion of freedom is far more dangerous, Than any jail cell or cramped cages” —G.Be

Immigration

Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus Wants Recall of Troops from Border

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The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus is asking Gov. Phil Bryant to recall the Mississippi National Guard from the U.S.' southern border and refuse to send more troops.

Editor's Note

EDITOR'S NOTE: America, We Must Stop De-humanizing Our Children

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As a child in the 1960s and 1970s, I was a bit of a freak of nature in my hometown of Philadelphia, Miss. You could call me sensitive or soft-hearted, or as the odd insult still goes, I had a bleeding heart.

Editorial

EDITORIAL: Feds Must Stop Cruel Deportations, Rethink ‘War on Drugs’

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are arresting more undocumented immigrants now than under the previous administration—nonviolent undocumented men and women as Donald Trump uses scare tactics about dangerous immigrant gangs to justify deportations and splitting up families for just the crime of being undocumented.

Civil Rights

OPINION: Immigration and the First Amendment

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My late friend Marty Fishgold, a longtime labor writer in New York City, liked to say that "good journalism is a subversive activity" because it tells truth to power.

Immigration

Mississippi Outs Legal Immigrants on Drivers' Licenses

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Abigail Pina Mandujano had to start carrying her visa with her when she drives because her license is not enough to fend off questions from law-enforcement officials at roadblocks, she says.

City & County

Mayor Refutes Ethics Complaint Claiming JPD Destroys Immigration Records

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In one of his more assertive and direct public statements, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba refuted an ethics complaint from a local conservative think tank accusing the City of Jackson of destroying immigration records called detainers.

City & County

An Immigration Fight on Multiple Fronts

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The City of Jackson's anti-profiling ordinance will stay on the books, as far as Chokwe A. Lumumba is concerned.

City & County

Mayor Lumumba Backs 'Dreamers,' Calls on Trump to Preserve DACA


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Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is calling on President Donald Trump to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, known as DACA. Lumumba signed the "We Are With Dreamers" letter today, which includes governors, state and municipal leaders, and faith leaders throughout the country.

Immigration

ICE Releases Daniela Vargas Under Order of Supervision

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Daniela Vargas, the 22-year-old undocumented immigrant who grew up in Mississippi and was detained after speaking out at a press conference in Jackson, is free from federal custody as of today.

Immigration

Hostility to Immigrants Breeds 'Constant State of Fear,' Advocates Say

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Business owners, pastors and lawyers gathered outside Jackson City Hall Wednesday to voice concerns for the hostility shown toward immigrants in the wake of President Donald Trump's executive orders and recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in Jackson.

City & County

ICE Plans to Deport Daniela Vargas Without Hearing, Attorney Says

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Daniela Vargas, a 22-year-old undocumented immigrant who grew up in Mississippi, is in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody with no bond and will not get a hearing before an immigration judge, her lawyer said this afternoon.

Civil Rights

Immigrant Supporters: Keep Jackson a 'Sanctuary City'

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Supporters of immigrant rights turned out Tuesday night to urge the Jackson City Council to keep its Racial and Ethnic Profiling Ordinance in place, despite state and national efforts to force "sanctuary cities" to drop protections of undocumented residents.

Immigration

UPDATED: DACA Immigrant Detained in Jackson After Speaking Out, ICE Responds

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Minutes after leaving a press conference, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detained Daniela Vargas, a 22-year-old undocumented immigrant in the process of applying for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status for the third time.

Business

ICE: Mississippi Immigration Investigation Began Year Ago, 8 Eateries Raided in February

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Immigration and customs enforcement agents conducted raids on Feb. 22 after a year-long criminal investigation at local Ichiban restaurants in Flowood and Pearl as well as dining establishments owned by the same owner in Clinton and Meridian.

Civil Rights

After ICE Raid, Immigration Limbo in Mississippi for a Jackson Family

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Daniela Vargas was asleep early on Feb. 15 when she felt her father kiss her goodbye, as he did every morning. It was around 6:30 or 7 a.m., a seemingly normal Wednesday morning—until it wasn't. Just a few minutes later, her father came back, waking her: "Dani, immigration is here!"

Cover

The Facts About Immigration: A Former Border Czar Speaks

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ProPublica sat down to talk with Alan Bersin about the history, politics, rhetoric and reality surrounding the border issues that are driving a fierce national debate during the first weeks of the Trump administration.

Immigration

Mississippi Bill: Let Police Ask About Immigration Status

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The Mississippi Senate voted 32-16 Thursday to approve a bill saying local governments and public colleges can't stop their employees from asking whether a person has entered the U.S. illegally, and can't try to grant any special status to those who've entered illegally.

Civil Rights

Of Racial Profiling and Scarlet Letters

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For a lot of immigrants—especially immigrants of color—part of the relief of becoming a citizen is that you won't get scarlet-letter documents that are different from everyone else's.

Civil Rights

Lawmakers: Stay Off the Trump Immigrant Road

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With a president hell-bent on securing borders and going after undocumented immigrants in the name of drug wars and criminal activity, it is a scary time to not technically be legal.

Editor's Note

‘Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor’

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I've talked about this before, but we are a nation of many immigrants. Unless you're Native American, you can likely trace your roots back somewhere across the seas or down in South and Central America.

Immigration

No Sanctuary: A Rough, Undocumented Road

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Melinda Medina was on a family road trip in summer 2014, returning from a Mobile, Ala., flea market near the Alabama and Mississippi state line when a patrol car suddenly sped up alongside her driver-side window. The cop then dropped back and started following her, his blue lights flashing.

Immigration

'Sanctuary Cities' for Immigrants May Soon Be Illegal in Mississippi

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Mississippi municipalities would be banned from establishing "sanctuary cities" for illegal immigrants if a Senate bill, which passed to the House of Representatives yesterday, becomes law.

City & County

Crimen Contra Los Latinos: Local Residents, Advocates Decry Violent Attacks

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Nearly one month since Daniel Omar Gomez and Eli Nunez were shot and killed while grilling dinner with loved ones in their Westhaven Drive front yard, approximately 15 Latinos have been victims of homicide or violent crimes in central Mississippi.

City Passes Anti-Profiling Ordinance

Jackson's Anti-Profiling Ordinance (PDF, 224 KB)

Editor's Note

Sanctuary City

Stop the presses. They're calling Jackson a "Sanctuary City." The only one in Mississippi. Pass the Champagne!