Child separation has become a heated issue in the United States. Ever since the current administration’s deplorable policy to separate immigrant children from their parents at border crossings last year, there has been overwhelming public outcry. Finally, the president ordered for children and parents to be reunited.
Notwithstanding this horrifying episode in our nation’s history, the current administration is still separating parents from their children. Only this time, it’s not quite as obvious.
Last month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted targeted raids on seven food processing plants in Mississippi. They arrested 680 undocumented workers.
Many of these workers were single parents with small children at home. Some were breastfeeding mothers. Their children were left parentless, alone and afraid for their parents who never returned home from work.
Companies go unscathed
Undocumented immigrants have worked in U.S. meat processing plants for years. The work is grueling, and the plants have notoriously poor workplace safety. Employers as such plants exploit undocumented workers for profit. Undocumented immigrants work in dangerous conditions for low wages. When they are injured or killed, they are simply replaced.
Even though these employers have acted illegally and unethically, they are unlikely to face any legal consequences. So far, none of these companies are facing prosecution.
It is a dangerous time for undocumented immigrants. In the past few years, there has been a spike in anti-immigrant rhetoric across the country. The current administration is working to cut legal immigration and to limit entry for refugees and asylum seekers. Such actions increase racism, suspicion and fear. Ultimately, they make us all less safe.