Members of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance met this week at the Capitol to raise awareness regarding issues surrounding working conditions for undocumented immigrants.
Bill Chandler, the Director for MIRA, took the time to lay out how the Trump administration could impact immigrants in Mississippi.
“The Trump team has already announced that some of their first acts of brutality will be to lash out against immigrants and Muslims,” said Chandler. “Their aim is to build a great wall, deport millions of immigrants, tear millions of families apart, and to drive ten of millions of immigrants, ..refugees, and their families into silence and fear.”
Chandler referred to the Trump administration as “The Reign of Terror.”
“We are committed to organize to stand up for a Mississippi and an America that values all people,” Chandler said.
Chandler added that immigrant workers are often held hostage by low wages.
Melinda Medina, Community Organizer for MIRA on the Mississippi Gulf Coast spoke about the horrors immigrants face when entering the country.
“They cross a river, not seeing the strength of the current below it,” said Medina.
She also spoke against the building of the border wall.
“Mr. Trump, if you build a wall, I’ll teach my children to tear it down!”
MIRA also advocated for workers’ rights.
“In Mississippi, some 80 workers die on the job each year,” said Chandler. “Injured workers can be fired for applying for relief to the state workers’ compensation commission.”
Chandler added that there is no state department of labor, and that many state employees have gone nine years without a pay raise–and that it is often worse for immigrant workers.
“Immigrant and migrant workers are exploited mercilessly. At least a dozen bills introduced into the 2017 Mississippi Legislative Session are designed to destroy their families,” said Chandler.
“We stand in solidarity together to speak to legislators in an escalating campaign to fight back against racism and exploitation of all workers regardless of employment in private or public service and regardless of immigration status,” said Chandler.