The Raid at Howard Industries

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

It is a shocking thing that, in the midst of a presidential campaign, no one, from either party, will speak up for Howard Industries and its employees, 595 of whom were rounded up Monday at a transformer plant owned by Howard in Laurel, Mississippi. It is being described by the Associated Press as “the largest single-workplace immigration raid in U.S. history.”

It’ll be illuminating to see whether it generates as much press attention and handwringing as the immigration raid at a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, where two supervisors have pleaded guilty to immigration-related violations of the law. By our lights both cases underscore the problems with our immigration laws.

So far the employees appear to be neither terrorists nor criminals but simply hardworking laborers seeking economic opportunities not available in their home countries. It’s hard to make the case that these immigrants are taking jobs away from native-born Americans at a time when our national unemployment rate is a relatively low 5.7%.


But even if they were competing for jobs, since when is that un-American? As it is, so-called illegal immigrant workers aren’t able to collect Social Security and are likely to go uncompensated in the case of an accident in which a legal worker would be covered by disability insurance. They may be less likely to complain in the case of an abusive employer.

What have we come to as a nation when we can see federal agents swooping in, seizing individuals Americans would like to employ legally, separating fathers from children, and whisking them into an immigration purgatory that may take months or years to resolve? And doing so without any of our politicians, nearly all of whom are on the hustings this season, asking whether this is the way we want to conduct our nation?

There are said to be many millions of undocumented workers in this country and if the Howard Industries raid is an example of how the anti-immigration crowd wants to deal with them, we will be entering a passage in the history of this country that will be looked back on as a season of shame.

The New York Sun

© 2023 The New York Sun Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The material on this site is protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used.

The New York Sun

Sign in or  Create a free account

By continuing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use