Migration and Meatpacking: Story-mapping the relationship between Big Meat, Migrants and Federal Enforcement

Authors: Cynthia Gorman, West Virginia University, Martin Aucoin*, West Virginia University, Thompson Gross, West Virginia University
Topics: Migration, food systems
Keywords: Migration, Meatpacking, Story Map, Refugee, Detention
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


On April 17, 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers descended on the Pilgrim’s Pride Chicken Facility in Moorefield, West Virginia, arresting 115 migrant workers. Our research takes the Moorefield raid as a starting point to examine the broader relationship between meatpacking industries, migrants and refugees, and ICE raids. We use spatial data collected about the meat industry and ICE raids, archived Internet news stories and images, interviews with citizens of Moorefield and images from the community, to create a poster in the form of a ‘story map’ to interpret the complex relationship between industry, workers and enforcement. Our poster will document the spatial layout of the meatpacking industries in the United States and the geographies of ICE raids and detention centers. However, in the case of Moorefield, we also highlight the stories of community members who went to great lengths to support the migrant community after the 2008 raid. Our research contributes to the geographic literature on migration and food justice, and provides a unique spatial insight to the ongoing national discourse about migrants, refugees and federal enforcement.

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