Washington, DC – On Monday morning a delegation of Mississippi workers rights leaders were joined by national and local partners as they delivered their petitions to US Labor Department headquarters in Washington, DC. The letter, signed by over 50 civil rights, labor, and faith groups in Mississippi and nationwide, formally requests President Joe Biden and the US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh use their authority to redress harms committed against workers by the Trump administration and ICE.
“We are here, having driven 16 hours all the way from Mississippi because we have this message to deliver – four actions we need to repair the harm. Two years ago, our community was attacked at our workplaces, and we’re still feeling the effects of those raids,” said IAJE Executive Director Lorena Quiroz. “Now President Biden promised to repair that harm, and today, that means taking deportation off the table, it means work authorization, and it means reuniting these families.”
The August 2019 raids, denounced nationally, resulted in over 680 arrests of workers, many who were deported, many who are still fighting detention, and many who now have conviction resulting from the workplace raids.
“We’re here to support our partners from Mississippi because that’s what we must do to address these abuses at the workplace – Dale, from the bottom up! It’s about educating working people – and employers – about their rights on the job, about workplace health and safety, about wearing protective gear, but most importantly, that we are all essential workers,” said Fernando Garavito, Senior Manager for We Are CASA. “It doesn’t matter what area of work you focus on, in a factory, in construction, woodwork, or with cement, you are essential. And we should all be recognized as such, and given the legal papers to show it.”
“I am happy to be here, because this is important. It’s important because Biden needs to get the message. What you promised, you have to do it,” said Arturo Griffith, Board Director for Trabajadores Unidos of Washington, DC. “That means, President Biden, start moving, it’s not time to think, it’s time to do! We’re here to support IAJE and NDLON with this important message: Biden, start moving. Not tomorrow, today!”
On April 8, in Jackson, MS, the Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity (IAJE), on behalf of the hundreds of indigenous, immigrant and undocumented workers targeted by the Trump administration, presented their petition in a press conference joined by Mississippi civil rights and faith partners. Read the letter to President Biden.