Under the Convention's Red Glare

Under the glare of the convention, ICE carried a massive raid in Laurel, Mississippi. 595 people were arrested, making the previous "largest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history" pale in comparison. The May raid in Postville, Iowa (pop. 2500), arrested 389 workers, broke up an organizing drive, and derailed a DOL investigation. Two months later, 1000 rallied in the workers' defense.

The Laurel plant of Howard Industries produces electrical transformers, and was in the middle of contract negotiations with IBEW. David Bacon has a pretty positive take on the situation, but AP is certainly trumpeting union support for the raid and the Mississippi AFL seems to be going along. Other news coverage is focusing on black workers in the plant cheering as ICE took people away. I'm a little heartened by the on-line poll at the Laurel Leader Call, with 57% blaming business and not the workers for the immigration mess, but there's some truly hateful comments out there about this.

Many of the detainees were sent to the detention center in Jena, LA. Hope they get them out before the hurricane. Apparently Spanish language media are running PSAs from ICE that no Gustav evacuees will be detained. I don't know if i'd believe it.

Thanks to Nezua for opening my eyes to this story.

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