Tyson Foods Fires U.S. Workers, Exploits Illegal Aliens for Profits


March 28, 2024

By William Davis

A major U.S. food corporation is retreating to one of the ugliest anti-borders tropes in the book to justify replacing American workers with foreign nationals. 

Tyson Foods, Inc., a multinational corporation based in the U.S, recently shuttered a pork processing factory in Iowa, leading to the loss of 1,200 American jobs. Shortly after, Tyson announced plans to hire tens of thousands of illegal aliens. The food giant already employs roughly 42,000 foreign nationals, and a Tyson human resources rep stated earlier this month that “We would like to employ another 42,000 if we could find them,” and they are trying hard to find them. Tyson has been offering $16.50 per hour wages and free access to immigration lawyers to foreign nationals who have resettled in New York. The company’s explanation for its desire to hire tens of thousands of illegal aliens is that they are “very, very loyal” workers, according to the same human resources rep. 

Another term for “loyal” in this case might be “exploitable.” While American workers are likely to demand good pay and decent working conditions, migrant workers are likely to be much more desperate and much less demanding. This allows major corporations to take advantage of migrants at the expense of American jobs and treasure. Tyson is far from the only or the worst offender when it comes to this, but they are the latest example of how the U.S. asylum system is being abused as a labor-importation system. 

The New York Times published an extensive report last year on the exploitation of migrant children, writing: “In town after town, children scrub dishes late at night. They run milking machines in Vermont and deliver meals in New York City. They harvest coffee and build lava rock walls around vacation homes in Hawaii. Girls as young as 13 wash hotel sheets in Virginia.” 

To be clear, there is no evidence that Tyson is flouting child labor laws, but they are certainly profiting off the U.S. immigration system at the expense of American workers. They are also denigrating the country which has allowed them to attain so much success, by implying that foreign workers are more loyal and harder-working than American workers. The trope that foreign nationals have a stronger work ethic and are willing to do jobs Americans won’t do is a foundational myth of the anti-borders movement. 

In 2019, a Koch Foods’ plant in Mississippi, employing hundreds of illegal aliens, was raided by federal immigration authorities. Days later, roughly 150 local residents attended a job fair seeking employment at the company, laying waste to the pernicious lazy American trope. In reality, there are no jobs corporations can’t find Americans to do if they’re willing to give them a living wage and decent working conditions. 

The trope that foreign nationals have a stronger work ethic and are willing to do jobs Americans won’t do is a foundational myth of the anti-borders movement. 

The notion that there are demanding jobs that Americans aren’t willing to do is not based in reality, but a convenient excuse for corporations to continue to import cheap foreign labor at the expense of Americans. Speaking of loyalty, where is the loyalty from Tyson Foods’ executives towards the country that has allowed them to thrive?

The same suits at Tyson Foods who have lived the American dream are now publicly denigrating the work ethic of Americans trying to live out theirs. It should be no surprise that Tyson’s conduct has led to an intense backlash, including a campaign to boycott the company. Earlier this month, a multimillion-dollar fund manager announced that he was pulling all investments from Tyson Foods. Naturally, the company has retreated into damage control, releasing a statement saying they are “strongly opposed to illegal immigration” and have “led the way in participating in the two major government programs to help employers combat unlawful employment, E-Verify and the Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) program.”

As always, it’s important to watch what these companies do, not what they say. Tyson recently held a job fair for illegal aliens in New York City, and has partnered with a pro-refugee nonprofit to hire thousands of foreign-born workers. By firing Americans and hiring foreign nationals in rapid succession, Tyson is showing exactly where its loyalty lies, and it’s not with the citizens of the country they were founded and continue to operate in. 

The Tyson Foods saga is the latest example of how American workers continue to be victimized by mass immigration. Both the government and corporations have a responsibility to put Americans first, but unfortunately, continue to put them last.

William J. Davis is a communications associate for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.

Also published at Townhall, March 28, 2024.

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