New York Times – MCJ’s Delta Farmworker Case Reflects History of Exploiting Black Labor

Richard Strong in a cotton field near Highway 82 in Indianola, Miss. Mr. Strong said he never imagined that he would lose his lifelong job to foreign workers. / Photo by Sarahbeth Maney, New York Times

The New York Times published an article looking into a practice utilized by many corporate farms in the Mississippi Delta that cheats the local Black workforce by illegally exploiting the H-2A visa program to bring in white South African workers who are paid more than the local Black workers and often displace them entirely.  


MCJ is representing farmworkers in a groundbreaking suit against one of those farms claiming the owners defrauded the government and discriminated against Black workers in violation of U.S. immigration laws and civil rights laws.  


“With the unemployment rate in the Delta hovering at around 10 percent, it is unacceptable and unlawful that local farmers are looking to hire foreign labor before people in their own communities. Unfortunately, this case is emblematic of a disastrous pattern in the South,” said Ty Pinkins of the Mississippi Center for Justice. 


Also working on the case are Rob McDuff and Reilly Morse of MCJ and Gregory Schell and Amal Bouhabib of Southern Migrant Legal Services.


MCJ President and CEO Vangela M. Wade adds, “The case reflects our nation’s deep, ugly history of exploiting Black labor. For too long, powerful businesses have abused Black Americans for profit. With this lawsuit, we are challenging a recent manifestation of this age-old problem.”