El Paso and Mississippi: Attack on Two Fronts
Our community is being attacked on two fronts.
Dear LULAC Family,
Our community is being attacked on two fronts. On Saturday, August 3rd in El Paso, Texas a domestic terrorist targeting “Mexicans” killed 22 people and injured 26. On Wednesday, August 7th, U.S. Immigration officials raided several Mississippi food processing plants targeting Latino employees and arrested 680 men and women, separating children and parents on the first day of school.
Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan statement about the raids being so close to the El Paso shooting was that “the timing is unfortunate”. The raids targeted “employers (who) are just ignoring the law entirely in what they do” and yet only Latino employees were arrested. Four major poultry plants in the state were targeted, three of them belonging to Peco Foods in three separate towns and a fourth belonging to Koch Foods in Morton, Mississippi. Not one executive from the four major poultry plants were arrested.
The sudden sweeps caused unsuspecting parents to leave their children at day care centers and schools while many spouses could only wait and worry for loved ones who never returned home from work. Their worst nightmare had come to pass even as Latinos across the country were mourning the murders of 22 people in El Paso by a mass shooter upset about the “Hispanic invasion of Texas”. To make matters worse, President Trump was in El Paso on the same day his immigration enforcement policy was being executed just a few states away against the same community his visit was supposed to console.
In El Paso, we mourn the lives lost of all the victims and pray for their families. We have called out the President forcefully for his rhetoric against Latinos. LULAC is also demanding Gov. Abbott call a Special Session to change gun legislation to protect fellow Texans and prevent mass shootings fueled by hateful, racism animus. We are also joining in a partnership with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and UnidosUS to prevent bias-motivated violence and improve hate crime reporting. This is just the start of our concerted efforts to address hate and violence against our community.
In Mississippi, our LULAC family went to work immediately upon learning of the raids, at first assessing the full scope of the situation and contacting other community-based groups in the region to determine the best course of action. Within hours, an emergency response alert plan was activated and a team assembled to go to the scene of the raids and work on the ground. LULAC members from Texas and Illinois experienced in first response assistance to victims of ICE detentions arrived and began contacting loved ones of the individuals detained. Other LULAC members assisted remotely from across the nation. Informational sessions were started in the affected towns to brief families of their rights and prepare them for the arduous days ahead.
The families in El Paso are just starting to piece together what’s left of the once peaceful community they knew. LULAC organized the "March for a United America" to raise awareness to the hate crime that is the deadliest shooting in the U.S. in 2019. The number of people killed makes it one of the 10 worst in recent American history. Funerals and burials for some of the families are just getting started and still many more to follow.
In Mississippi, legal and psychological assistance, shelter, food and basic living necessities are the top priorities at present and LULAC is doing everything we can to gather resources and donations for the families who are experiencing unimaginable trauma and separation. Over 200 children missed their first day of school as a result of the raids and we are focused on providing care to the families still in need.
Thank you for your continued support and donation during these critical times. LULAC is able to provide these services only through the generous support of our members and donors like you.
Hasta La Victoria,
LULAC National President
PS. If you missed my last message "Here is Why El Paso Matters" read it today.