Group Says Immigrant Workers Mistreated; Company Denies Allegations

Six immigrant workers say they were held hostage at a Pascagoula business. The workers are from India and they live and work at Signal International, a marine fabrication company.

Friday, the Mississippi Immigrant's Rights Alliance held a news conference to bring attention to alleged mistreatment.

The group says six Indian workers were told they were fired Friday morning. They say the workers were then locked in a room and told they'd be sent back to India.

Company officials confirmed that six workers were held for deportation, and those employees were not qualified skilled workers which Signal agreed to hire. But immigrant rights advocates say there are more problems than just the firings.

"All of them have been in rough conditions, living 24 people in one room with two toilets. You're having to work 10 or 12 hours a day in a ship, in the belly of a ship, and you have to wake up two hours early to go to the bathroom under pressure. I don't think that's healthy living conditions for anyone. The food, I treat my dog better than some of these people have been treated," Victoria Cintra said.

Dick Marler is the President of Signal International.

"The Department of Labor was here earlier this week, conducted a full search, looked at all of our records, looked at our living conditions, sampled that we were paying the right wage, looked at the living conditions, and we passed with flying colors," Marler said.

Signal International brought in the Indian workers last November under temporary work visas which allow them to work only at Signal International. Their visas expire July 31st.