No owners or top managers charged yet following massive ICE raids at Mississippi plants

If anyone had any lingering suspicion that the crackdown on undocumented workers under the Trump administration was about racism rather than the rule of law, look no further than the fact that the employers who hired these workers are going unpunished.

While 680 people were arrested in those raids, none of them happened to be the managers or owners profiting from the illegal labor of their workers. While enforcement with regard to undocumented people working in the U.S. has surged under Trump, there has be no increase in the number of business owners charged with the crime of hiring them. In just one fiscal year, ICE has increased worksite raids by the agency’s goal of 400%, making 2,304 arrests this year, a seven-fold increase over the previous year. In 2018, it arrested just 72 mangers and convicted 49. The previous year, it had arrested 72 and convicted 49.

One difficulty in prosecuting owners is proving that an employer knowingly hired workers that were here illegally. “The ‘knowingly’ term has proved to be a huge defense for employers,” said Muzaffar Chishti, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute. “The employer says, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t know they were unauthorized.'”

Another clue that it’s about the cruelty and not the country is the fact that it’s really bad for businesses to lose the majority of their workforce. Koch Foods (not a part of the Koch brothers’ conglomerate) held a job fair Monday to replace the 300 workers who lost their jobs because of the raid, and got 25-30 applicants.

CVE Technology Group, which repairs and refurbishes cellphones, was raided in April, and 284 workers were arrested. Rick Gump, a lawyer for the company, says it has lost about 75% of its business and several major contracts and has had difficulty hiring replacement workers. “The likelihood is a lot of the business that was here in the U.S. has been sent overseas,” he said.

It’s all about the cruelty. It’s all about terrorizing immigrants. And it’s doing untold damage to the nation.

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