Press Release

AFT Leaders Condemn Immigration Raids at Mississippi Food Processing Plants

Hundreds of Arrests Leave Many Children with No Parent at Home

For Release:


Oriana Korin

WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten, AFT Mississippi President Geraldine Bender and Jackson Federation of Teachers President Dr. Akemi Stout joined in making the following statement regarding the raids on food processing plants in Mississippi by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents where hundreds of workers were arrested and swept away from their families, leaving many children without a parent at home. 


Weingarten said:


“While children in Mississippi were at their first day of school, their parents were being rounded up by the government. Those kids came home ready to talk about what they learned at school, who they met and what they saw, only to be greeted with abject fear at the hands of a cruel government policy designed to terrorize an already frightened community.


“Immigrants are part of the fabric of our nation’s story. They are our neighbors, our colleagues and our friends as well as a crucial part of our economy, and our history. The United Food and Commercial Workers union members arrested yesterday went to work to make a better life for their families, and this administration arrested them simply for pursuing the American dream.” 


Bender said:


“Too many children in Mississippi don’t have an adult to go home to today because we’re playing politics with hardworking people’s lives. This episode is just another in a seemingly unending stream of attacks on America’s immigrant families, who help teach our children, take care of the sick and the elderly, and make this country great.”


Stout said:


“As educators, we know that separation from a parent causes trauma for a child that can impede learning opportunities and social and emotional health. We should be a nation and a state that put children first; no child should experience unnecessary loss. Our members will do their part as frontline protectors of students.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.