Mississippi farms pay overdue wages for favoring immigrants over local Black workers, agency says

Jun 28, 2023, 3:38 PM | Updated: 4:04 pm

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Forty-four farms in Mississippi exploited local Black workers by paying higher wages to immigrants who were in the United States on temporary work visas, the U.S. Labor Department said Wednesday.

The department announced it completed investigations that it began last year in the rural flatlands of the Mississippi Delta, one of the poorest areas of the U.S.

The 44 farms include catfish growers and operations that raise crops such as rice, soybeans and corn. They have paid $505,540 in back wages for 161 workers, plus $341,838 in civil penalties, the department said.

“The outcome of these investigations confirms that employers in the Mississippi Delta denied a large number of marginalized farmworkers their lawful wages, and in some cases, violated the rights of U.S. workers by giving temporary guest workers preferential treatment,” said Audrey Hall, district director of the Wage and Hour Division in Jackson, Mississippi.

The Labor Department announced its findings six months after two agriculture businesses in the Delta settled lawsuits filed on behalf of local Black farmworkers over claims that farms hired white laborers from South Africa and paid them more than the local Black employees for the same type of work.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that its investigations found employers violated several requirements of the H-2A visa program, including by failing to pay the required wages to U.S. workers in jobs similar to those held by immigrants.

The department also said the farms did not disclose all conditions of employment, failed to provide accurate anticipated hours of work and bonus opportunities, made illegal pay deductions, failed to provide required reimbursements for travel expenses and failed to comply with recordkeeping requirements.

Mississippi Center for Justice filed one of the lawsuits that was settled last year. The center collaborated with the Labor Department to protect the exploited workers, said Juan Coria, department’s Atlanta-based regional administrator.

Hall praised local Black farmworkers for speaking out about the problems.

“The courage they showed has helped workers across the Delta finally receive their long overdue wages,” Hall said.

United States News

Associated Press

3 Columbia University administrators put on leave over alleged text exchange at antisemitism panel

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia University said it has placed three administrators on leave while it investigates allegations that they exchanged unprofessional text messages while attending a panel discussion about antisemitism on campus. The university said the administrators work for its undergraduate Columbia College, which hosted the panel discussion “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Man charged in shooting that critically wounded Philadelphia officer, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 36-year-old Philadelphia man was charged Sunday with attempted murder in connection with a shooting that critically wounded a police officer after a traffic stop, police said. Ramon Rodriguez Vazquez also faces charges that include aggravated assault and home invasion, police said. The 31-year-old officer and his partner stopped a car carrying […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

California boy, 4, who disappeared from campground found safe after 22 hours alone in wilderness

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 4-year-old California boy who wandered away from a campground in the Sierra National Forest was found safe after spending 22 hours alone in the wilderness, authorities said. A search-and-rescue team of about 50 officers and volunteers set out around 11 a.m. Thursday after the child was reported missing from the […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

One man died and five others were hospitalized in downtown St. Louis shooting

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One man is dead and five others have been wounded in a downtown St. Louis shooting, police said. Police believe women were fighting in a park when men interfered and drew firearms, according to social media posts from the agency. The man who died was in his mid-twenties, police said. Five […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Michigan sheriff’s deputy fatally shot pursuing a stolen vehicle in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan county sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot while pursing a suspected stolen vehicle in Detroit, the Oakland County sheriff’s office said Sunday. Bradley J. Reckling, who was on duty in an unmarked car, was following a 2022 Chevy Equinox Saturday evening after the vehicle was reported stolen earlier in the day […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Authorities search in rural Colorado for suspect in shooting that left 1 dead, 2 injured

ALAMOSA, Colorado (AP) — Officers went door to door in a rural area of southern Colorado on Sunday as aircraft searched overhead for a man suspected of shooting three people, killing one, and then fleeing on foot into farmland after a failed carjacking. Suspect Henry Corral, 44, should be considered armed and dangerous, said police […]

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Mississippi farms pay overdue wages for favoring immigrants over local Black workers, agency says