Tyson Targeting Immigrants, Refugees for Factory Jobs

The company has said it wants to hire 2,500 refugees across three years in the U.S.

Tyson Foods is looking to refugees and immigrants to fill some of its factory jobs that handle duties such as placing cuts into trays, inspections for bones and washing meat, Bloomberg reported.

The food processor employs some 100,000 people in these positions, and according to associate director of human resources Garrett Dolan, the company anticipates an annual departure of approximately 40% of those workers. As a result, Dolan said the company is looking to hire 52,000 people in 2024 to fill these positions.

Bloomberg reported that in February, Tyson hired 17 immigrants seeking asylum from Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela to work at its plant in Tennessee. Tyson has also been reported to have recently hired 70 more asylum seekers.

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These hirings contribute to Tyson’s commitment in 2022 to hire 2,500 refugees across three years in the U.S. The company has also committed $1.5 million to provide free citizenship and legal services for immigrant team members. 

Reports of Tyson seeking out immigrant and refugee workers follow this month’s announcement that the company would close an Iowa pork plant that employs 1,200 people. Last August, the company also revealed it would halt operations at four chicken plants in Arkansas, Indiana and Missouri and shift production to other facilities.

The closures coinciding with announcements of targeting immigrants and refugees for jobs have led to backlash, including an exchange-traded fund called American Conservative Values divesting its holdings of Tyson and placing the company on its “Boycotts,” accusing Tyson of “[hiring] migrant workers while firing American workers.”

Tyson issued a statement calling the accusations “misinformation” and added, “Any insinuation that we would cut American jobs to hire immigrant workers is completely false.” The statement also mentioned that all Tyson employees in the U.S. “are required to be legally authorized to work in the country.”

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an asylum applicant can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as a work permit, 150 days after filing a complete asylum application. They can then receive a work permit 180 days after filing the asylum application.

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