Los Angeles, Oct 13 (EFE) .- Activists and workers affected by the large raids that the immigration authorities carried out in 2019 hope that the Government of President Joe Biden will “repair the damage” caused to the communities and families of the undocumented detainees.
The request gained momentum after the announcement by the Democratic Administration on Tuesday that there will be no more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations in workplaces and that it will focus more on preventing the exploitation of these workers. A policy opposite to that developed in the Government of Donald Trump (2017-2021).
“Eliminating the raids is a great first step. But we also need the Biden government to repair the damage caused by these arrests in 2019, ”Lorena Quiroz, director of the Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity (IAJE), warned Efe.
The activist specifically advocates for the undocumented workers of seven food processors who in August 2019 were intervened by the immigration authorities in Mississippi and which resulted in the arrest of 680 undocumented immigrants, considered the largest immigration operation in the last decade in workplaces. in United States.
IAJE and a coalition of Mississippi organizations ask the US Government to grant a kind of Deferred Action like the one that hundreds of thousands of “dreamers” have for affected workers, which would allow them to access a work permit.
“This would help many to be able to get out of the limbo they are in,” Quiroz said.
MORTON IS NO LONGER THE SAME
Immigrant advocates argue that these permits would help jumpstart the economy of the small communities where the food processors hit by the raids are located.
One of the communities affected by these raids was Morton, a small city in central Mississippi with about 3,500 people, according to 2020 Census data.
“Many of those who stayed could not go back to work because the court process does not allow it, and they are having a very difficult time,” says Elizabeth Iraheta, a worker at the Koch Foods food processor where one of the the raids.
Two years after the operation, the worker considers that “the nightmare is not over.”
Although her employment was not affected by being authorized to work in the US, Iraheta says that Lidia, one of her best friends, has not yet been able to overcome the consequences left by the arrest.
“Lidia has not been able to work in these two years. He tries to make a living cleaning houses, but that is not enough, “said Iraheta, who added that dozens of former Koch Foods workers are in the same unemployment situation.
He adds that the process in the immigration court of Lidia, the mother of a 14-year-old girl, is delayed and the date to appear in court has been changed several times.
A brother of Lidia preferred to return to Guatemala, where they are from, to continue living in the US under the pressure generated by the raid and possible deportation.
A SEPARATION FOREVER
The organizations will send the request for a work permit to be granted for those affected, taking advantage of the public comments that must be made to the changes anticipated by the Biden Government this week.
“We cannot let there be one more victim of this raid that destroyed families like Edgar López’s,” argues Quiroz.
Lopez’s case has marked the great raid in Mississippi. The immigrant was detained in the raid at a chicken processor in the Carthage community, about 36 miles north of Morton.
A previous deportation was used by ICE authorities to avoid releasing López, despite the fact that he had been working in food processors in that area for more than 22 years.
The immigrant fought for almost a year to avoid his expulsion but was deported in July 2020 to Guatemala, leaving his wife, children and grandchildren in the United States.
Unable to bear the family separation, López set out on his way back to Mississippi in the early days of this year, but on January 22 he was shot in the back of a truck along with 18 other migrants in northern Mexico a few miles from the Rio Grande, or Rio Grande, as it is known in the United States.
The bodies of the migrants were burned.
“It is not fair that the life of a good man who saw America as his home ends this way. That is what a wrong immigration policy does, ”Quiroz said, noting that“ it is time ”that they try to correct the damage caused by the raids and deportations.