‘Working Should Not Be a Crime’

Protestors, joined by children holding signs reading “Working should not be a crime,” “Raids tear families apart,” and “Si se Pueda” (“Yes we can”), cheered at repeated attacks on SB 2988. Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance Executive Director Bill Chandler called the law, known as the Mississippi Employment Protection Act, the “ethnic cleansing act.

“The largest raid in U.S. history happened in Laurel, Miss. Some 595 Latino workers were arrested for working, tearing families apart by sending them to jail and deporting them for the crime of struggling to support their families,” Chandler said.

Chandler called upon the “new federal government,” under President-elect Barack Obama—who drew tremendous applause at the mention of his name—to end the raids and repeal SB2988.

Frank Curiel, vice-president of Laborers International Union, summed up both the raids and the Mississippi law as products of racist discrimination.