The ICE raids held last week in Mississippi may not have had serious impact on Simpson County’s Hispanic population, but they could have. The raid, focused primarily on workers in the poultry industry, resulted in nearly 700 people being rounded up.
We contacted Magee Police Chief Randy Crawford and Sheriff Greg Runnels, who stated that to their knowledge no immigrants residing in Simpson County were among the illegals being taken into custody. But we have had our share of illegal immigrants in the past, and if officials checked real hard they could probably confirm that there are still some in the Simpson County who have not followed proper procedure to be here.
So why does this happen? According to those in the poultry business, the jobs these illegals are holding are not the most desirable. They represent tasks like gathering chickens from houses to be processed. The poultry farmers say it is hard work and the pay is not so good. So how do you improve the situation? One way is through an increase in wages being paid for these jobs. But increasing the wages for these positions also increases the growers’ cost of production.
The most common sentiment that has been shared is that if these people want jobs in this country they should come in the proper way and work within the constraints of the system. That includes getting a green card, which allows them to be properly tracked, and also to pay their proper taxes on the wages they earn here. That sounds reasonable.
We have a problem with the fact that such raids will lead to deportation of some of the people, creating splits in family units. While intentions are good to prevent this kind of situation from happening, it is inevitable that it will.
Probably, the most effective way to prevent this from happening in the future is to see that companies do not hire illegal aliens. In the short term it will create labor problems but in the long run it will be better than splitting families.