Immigrant Workers Reportedly Fired on the Spot After Mississippi ICE Raids: 'Another Brutal Attack on the Latinx Community'

As many as 100 workers at a chicken processing plant in Morton, Mississippi, were reportedly fired after showing up to work in the wake of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids that rocked the state last week.

In a Twitter statement published on Wednesday, Families Belong Together Communications Director Paola Luisi said PH Food Inc., a chicken processing plant, had "just...callously fired 100+ workers less than a week after the raids, adding yet another brutal attack on the Latinx community."

Luisi, who has been contacted by Newsweek for comment, said the local community was organizing in protest against the move–and against the Trump administration's hardline crackdown on immigrants in the U.S.

"The broader community is showing up," she said, sharing a photo of a "pantry full of donations at a local church." Meanwhile, she said, a local Latinx business had opened its doors to workers and organizers to help connect them to legal clinics.

"The energy is palpable and the courage of these folks is extraordinary," she said.

Just now in Morton, Mississippi: PH Foods callously fired 100+ workers less than a week after the raids, adding yet another brutal attack on the Latinx community. 1/

— Paola Luisi (@PaolaBLuisi) August 13, 2019

The reported firings come after ICE agents swept through seven food processing plants across six cities in Mississippi last week, arresting as many as 860 workers.

The arrests created chaos in communities across the state, where many children had just started their first day of school and were left waiting to find out whether their parents would be released from ICE custody.

"This is a community that has suffered the unfathomable," Luisi said on Twitter.

"Just today I've heard of a father of three who is at home, unable to work because his wife is detained and he has to care for three young children," she said. "I also heard of a case of a father who was detained, whose son is autistic and depends on a hug from his dad every evening as part of his evening routine. He's inconsolable."

She added: "[There is] the case of a mother of six, who is now taking care of her sister-in-law's three children. That's NINE children in one woman's care."

"I also heard that families are reaching out to attorneys asking their teenage children be granted guardianship of their siblings, in case they too get brutally ripped away from their children. Let. That. Sink. In," Luisi wrote.

"The cruelty is the point," she added. "What has happened to this community is the product of a sadistic, white nationalist agenda in action with the sole intention of terrorizing communities of color. But despite the horror, the resilience is extraordinary. The community is rising."

Newsweek has tried to contact PH Food through a phone number provided online and has contacted the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) to confirm the reported firings.

In a statement to local news outlet The Clarion Ledger, Dianne Bell, the communications director for the MDES, said the state had heard about the mass layoffs at PH Food.

However, she said that as of Wednesday she had not yet been able to confirm the reports. Employers are not technically required to report such actions to the state, but most do anyway.

As workers at the PH Food plant were reportedly being laid off, another chicken processing plant targeted by the raids in Morton was seeking new hires following ICE's targeted operation.

According to the Ledger, Koch Foods saw more than 200 people apply for work during a job fair held on Monday, with the company having at least 100 openings for "deboners," workers responsible for deboning chicken.

It is unclear whether those openings had been planned prior to the ICE raids or whether they were posted to replace those detained by the immigration agency.

ice raid mississippi
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency conducts a workplace raid in Jackson, Mississippi, as part of sweeping raids across the state, which saw 680 people arrested. ICE

Editor's Picks

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts