ICE Raid in Laurel, MS: employees clapped

USAToday (August 26 2008)  reported that when ICE and Homeland Security raided Howard Industries in Laurel, MS taking away as many as 600 employees, (other reports stated ICE arrested 350);  the employees response was to clap.  

This is how deep xenophobia exists in Mississippi.  It is fear that the media and state government in Mississippi have propagated and nurtured.  This is the state that when a murder occurred in a trailer park outside of Jackson and the investigating police discovered the neighbors were undocumented the headlines conflated the two events, making it sound like the undocumented citizens were the alleged murderers.  The murder was committed by a white citizen. 

What is sad and what the clapping employees do not yet realize; is because  of this raid Howard Industries, if convicted of hiring undocumented workers, will not be allowed to do business in Mississippi for one year and no public contracts for three as the result of a new state law that went into effect on July 1.   

Further Howard Industries is obligated to create 2000 new jobs as per a contract awarded in 2002 of over 31 Million dollars.  If Howard Industries is unable to meet employment goals, it will be fined $3,000 for every job below quota.  

The clapping will undoubtedly turn to tears in the weeks and months ahead if Howard Industries is unable to continue contracted work.  This will mean lay offs in a region already reeling under the still yet to be declared recession.  And because the media has failed to write reports that truly inform the public and not just bias them against undocumented workers, there will probably be increased anger and prejudice aimed at the wrong people in this failed system of immigration. 

Right now, there are reports of as many of 175 parents under arrest, leaving their children’s fate in limbo.  Our Home Universalist Unitarian Church attempted to contact the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, the congregation mentioned in USAToday,  to see what supports could be provided and was told that the families “are all gone” and there was nothing to be done.   Our Home UU Church will continue to seek avenues of support that could be provided to the families impacted by this event.  

Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA) based Jackson, MS is seeking to provide legal representation for the detained employees.  Jackson is about 100 miles to the northwest of Hattiesburg where the arraignments are taking place.  They are in need of financial support in order to attend to these families suffering from this indignity.  This includes donations for mileage and hotel costs.   Please consider supporting MIRA so these individuals get the due process under the law that they are entitled to.  What happened a few months ago in Postville, Iowa was that many of those arrested there were not informed sufficiently of their legal rights under the law. This resulted in many inadvertently waiving their rights and pleading guilty, not fully understanding what they were giving up.   This must not happen again here in Mississippi. 

And when employees clap at the enforcement of an unjust law, it is a sign that our sense of morality has deteriorated.  The injustice these immigrants face; the fearful interrogations they are confronted with, no one should be clapping… we should instead be horrified and outraged that our nation is using tactics that dictatorships use to maintain totalitarian order.  These tactics do not represent American values and ethics.  These tactics represent something far more evil. 

Stay tuned…

Blessings, Serenityhome



  1. Where is all the compassion for the Black Native Mississippians who have to endure hardship and discrimination…who also, wish to provide for their families. Illegal immigrants have been treated far better than majority of the black CITIZEN in Mississippi. Something is definitely wrong with this image.

  2. Jana: Please look at my posts on the formation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Mississippi. Your point is well taken. What I am seeing is Mississippi repeating the racism and discrimination against African Americans with Undocumented workers. The fear tactics being used by ICE agents in Mississippi is atrocious. One example is the entering of a Mexican Restaurant during the dinner hour in Jackson with guns being brandished. This is the same tactic of fear that White Supremicists used against African Americans for decades in Mississippi. I am not denying the injustice suffered by African Americans, not at all. “An injustice against one is an injustice against all. “

  3. “Clapping that people were being hauled off is not a moral nor a just act. Clapping at another’s suffering is not a moral nor a just act.”

    Sorry, but those are not the reasons the employees were clapping. They were applauding the enforcement of our country’s immigration laws.

    These aren’t unjust laws, as you say. How on earth is maintaining our country’s borders unjust? Every other country in the world is at least twice as harsh on illegal immigrants as we are. We’re the big immigration softie of the world, and now we’re reaping that harvest. A harvest of greedy souls eager to milk our system for everything its worth.

    “What I fail to get is how we in America could be so self-righteous and so arrogant towards other countries and their citizens when we have so much abundance to share.”

    We don’t have an abundance to share. Have you forgotten the deficit our country is in? How about how much these illegal immigrants are costing us? Take a look at the numbers.

    Why are we supporting MIRA, again? What rights do these people actually have, aside from basic human rights? (Don’t call American Citizen rights “basic human rights”, because they’re not. They are rights specifically and exclusively for American Citizens.) What is wrong with these people pleading guilty to a crime they’ve obviously committed? They’re here, in our country, right? And they’re not citizens? And they’re here illegally? Done and done. Guilty, lets deport them back home.

    What I find sad, honestly, is the veiling of your liberal philosophy behind the facade of religious love.

  4. Marchosias: Thank you for commenting. Some of your comments have been made by others and I answered them elsewhere.

    Why do we have a deficit in this country? Because our government deceived us into going into war for the wrong reasons. The money spent on the Iraqi war could have provided health care for the uninsured in this country. It could have created jobs for rebuilding our bridges that are seriously in danger of crumbling and many have collapsed in recent years. It could have improved the educational systems in the poorest states of the nation so that all people have access to an equal education.

    And in terms of my veiling my liberal philosophy behind the facade of religious love… I do not veil it at all. I will tell you from where my authority comes from to proclaim my liberal philosophy and my religious love… It comes from the Bible…

    Leviticus 19:34
    “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.”


  5. Marchosias: I have read the report you graciously posted here. Thank you for this vital information. What I found curious is that the author made this statement: “Overall, immigration is a net fiscal positive to the government’s budget in the long run: the taxes immi­grants pay exceed the costs of the services they receive.”

    And then went on to tell us how awful it will be if we had immigrants and undocumented immigrants in our country. He buried the positive. Why would he do that? He would do that if he was pre-biased against immigrants. He would do that if he had an agenda which he did. He wanted to kill the comprehensive immigration reform act of 2006. A reform act that was developed by Republicans and was supported by President Bush. It was killed.

    He also makes other claims that are distortions of facts and evidence. He discusses the crime rate increases. There are other forces at work that help support and increase crime. A raid at Howard Industries is one possible contributor to increased crime. The families remaining without their income providers are left at their own mercies to find food and shelter. What are they going to do? They can’t work, they do not have the means to return to their native country. THe frustration builds and the teens and adults turn to fast money. It is more complicated than this obviously, but you can see can’t you how the raid could contribute this end result?

    I do not know what the final solution will be for our country’s immigration problems. It is complex. The 2006 Act was not perfect by any means, but it was a beginning towards a just solution. Whatever the solution, it needs to be one that is created justly and ethically for all concerned; including an ethical solution that also meets your needs. We can find such a solution. But we find such things by looking at the positives and not just the negatives. Blessings,

  6. “Here’s a question for you. China has a law that families there can only have one child. If they become pregnant for a second child they are expected to have an abortion. They would be breaking the law if they do not abort the second pregnancy. Do you think your definition of justice should be upheld here? ”

    I would not immigrate to China. If I did live in China and wished to have more than one child I would leave, and do so legally. I would then be standing my moral ground and abiding by the existing laws. Again, the parent of the children effected by this knew they were breaking the law. The harm done to these children, if any, rest on the heads of the parents who put them in that position. I do not want my children to lose a parent to prison or see me arrested so I do not deal drugs. If you do not want your children to be put through this ordeal, do not break the law. If you do take responsibility for your actions and the consequences of those actions.

    PS: Refering to someone in this country illegally as an illegal alien is not a demeaning term, it is the accurate term. If they were here legally they would be immigrants.

  7. US Citizen:
    You didn’t answer my question. I didn’t ask you what you would do, I asked if that scenario fit your definition of justice? You had written the following as a definition: “Justice is determined by following the laws f this nation. From Elements of Morals…”A nation without laws, or one which no longer obeys it’s laws, falls into anarchy and becomes the prey of the first conqueror to present himself” ”

    Does the scenario presented fit your definition? Even the most careful of families have ended up having pregnancies that were not planned in advance. So based on the answer you gave which wasn’t answering the question directly, I come to the conclusion that if your family lived in China and found your family pregnant with a second child, that because the law states that an abortion is required that based on your definition of justice, your family would have the abortion. Even if it went against the faith you hold dear because that is the law of this particular country.

    You would not be able to exit the country quickly enough to save the life of the child. I have met people from China and they told me their wait to come to America legally took several years. So the child would have to be aborted while you waited. Does this fit your definition of justice?

    My point is that some laws are unjust on religious grounds even though they may not be unjust according to the laws of the land. Some people in the era of slavery, believed that slavery was just because it was legal. In South Africa many believed that their law of apartheid was just because it was the law of the land. It was an unjust law. Our current laws regarding undocumented immigrants is unjust for the same reasons. Read my post on Leviticus 19:34 Blessings,

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