A project of the Center for Community Change

Under Siege: Low-wage Latino Workers Face Injustice in the South

tomatoworkerThe Southern Poverty Law Center released a report detailing the injustice and abuse facing low-wage Latino workers in the South. I grew up in the South and I can attest to the fact that the Latino population in my region is booming. Many of these folks have arrived to escape harsh and impoverished conditions and have, instead, found injustice at every turn.

In Tennessee, a young mother is arrested and jailed when she asks to be paid for her work in a cheese factory.

In Alabama, a migrant bean picker sees his life savings confiscated by police during a traffic stop.

In Georgia, a rapist goes unpunished because his 13-year-old victim is undocumented.

These are just a few examples of the injustices that confront Latino immigrants as they struggle to gain a foothold in the South.

The report finds that in Southern states Latinos are cheated out of wages, subjected to inhumane conditions, subjected to wide-spread racial profiling and are regularly harassed by law enforcement.

For this report, Southern Poverty Law Center researchers surveyed 500 low-income Latinos — including legal residents, undocumented immigrants and U.S. citizens — at five locations in the South to take the pulse of a community that is being increasingly driven into the shadows by a sweeping anti-immigration movement. We found a population under siege and living in fear — fear of the police, fear of the government and fear of criminals who prey on immigrants because of their vulnerability.

To read the full report, click here.

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