August 7, 2019 forever changed the lives of many undocumented immigrants living and working in the heart of Mississippi. That day, ICE raided seven chicken processing plants and detained almost 700 people in what is now considered the largest single-state immigration raid in the country.

Latino USA traveled to Mississippi last year to learn about the long-term effects of this massive immigration raid and explored how many immigrant workers got to these chicken processing plants in the first place.

As part of Latino USA’s continuing coverage on the state, Maria Hinojosa and producer Reynaldo Leaños Jr. traveled to Mississippi in early August of this year to catch up with some of the people we met in last year’s episode and figure out what’s changed and what hasn’t in their lives and in their communities.

In this episode, we get updates from Elena, Yesenia, and Lorena Quiroz, all of whom we met last year, and we hear from new voices in the community. We also dive into the racial history behind the chicken processing business in the South and the vicious cycle of an industry that continues to exploit the most vulnerable.

Maria Hinojosa interviews Yesenia and her daughters in Forest, Mississippi. (Photo credit: Reynaldo Leaños Jr./Latino USA)
Portrait of Lorena Quiroz, director of Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity. (Photo credit: Reynaldo Leaños Jr./Latino USA)
Community members at a vigil in Canton, Mississippi to commemorate two years after the ICE raids of 2019. (Photo credit: Reynaldo Leaños Jr./Latino USA)
Maria Hinojosa and Lorenz Quiroz walk through a neighborhood in Canton, Mississippi. (Photo credit: Reynaldo Leaños Jr./Latino USA)

Featured illustration by Alex Charner. 


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2 thoughts on “Mississippi Rising

  1. This is so INFURIATING. For 2 reasons. #1 If congress would just make Legal Immigration a Priority, that would be a start. #2. The pull for undocumented workers is their livelihood. The undocumented and their families need to live, so if the owners of these business put out the call that they need help, here they come because EVERYONE KNOWS, AMERICANS REFUSE TO DO THE DIRTY WORK AND REFUSE TO WORK FOR LOW WAGES. Lastly, the business owners need to admit that they encourage the cycle therefore they need to be honest and pay these employees better wages. It is everyone’s human right to search out a better living. Why do we have to arrest and mistreat them simply for trying to make a living? We need to work together and come up with a compromise, because lets face it, we need the help.

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