I got a call from a friend this afternoon; after I answered he told me, in a completely unironic tone of voice, that his mother had been detained by the Feds. Now, knowing his mother, I could hardly imagine a person less likely to be detained by any law enforcement agency, for anything. So I chuckled, but when he didn’t laugh, I asked if he was serious. He was. When I spoke to him this afternoon his mom was apparently still being detained and questioned.

His mother, along with hundreds of other people, were detained and questioned in a massive ICE raid on Jones County, MS’s (my home county) Howard Industries. His mom, I should note, is not Latino, and could never be mistaken for being Latino or any sort of undocumented worker of any sort. Apparently she is being questioned- and detained for we don’t know how long- in order to extract further records on the undocumented workers at Howards. My friend didn’t know a lot of particulars, as the Feds apparenty, in addition to shutting off the company’s physical telephone switchboard (reported in the article), also jammed celluar communications. As you might imagine, the raid completely shut down the company, which is the largest employer in Jones County. Without Howards and a couple of other large employers there wouldn’t really be much of an economy in Jones County; one can imagine what sort of impact this will have on the economy.

I have met quite a few Latino guys who work- or, probably now, worked- at Howards. They were all doing what the politicos tell you is the American dream: working, saving money (well, that’s not very American), contributing to the local economy, going to church, etc. Are these people criminals? Is this how a “free” market works? But I’d best not get too polemical…

Racial tensions in Jones County between locals and the new Latino population have been generally good; I have encountered more positive sentiments than otherwise from both whites and blacks in Jones County. I wonder whether that will change for the worse in the aftermath of the raid- probably.

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