Misinformation Leads to Tyson Foods Being Accused of Hiring Over 52,000 Illegal Immigrants Seekers

By: Georgia | Last updated: Mar 25, 2024

Tyson Foods has recently made a significant move by laying off 1,300 staff members at their Iowa pork plant. 

In conjunction with these layoffs, the company has announced plans to hire 42,000 asylum seekers in New York, providing them with ‘job-and-lawyer’ packages. This strategic decision by Tyson Foods has sparked controversy and led to a boycott by concerned consumers.

Tyson Foods: One of America's Largest Food Production Companies

Tyson Foods is a large American-based food production company that offer hundreds of beef, pork, and chicken-based products. 

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The company currently employs over 120,000 Americans, according to US News.

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Allegations of Hiring Illegal Immigrants Begin Circulating Online

Recently, the food production company came under fire after allegations of hiring illegal immigrants began circulating online. 

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Numerous claims began reporting Tyson Foods planned to hire over 50,000 people who traveled to the US illegally, according to AP News. But is there any truth to these claims?

Consumer Boycott Against Tyson Foods Gains Momentum

In response to Tyson Foods’ decision to close several plants and pursue the hiring of thousands of asylum seekers, angry shoppers are organizing a boycott of Tyson Foods products. 

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A trade show booth with the Tyson Foods logo prominently displayed on a blue hanging banner. Staff wearing masks and aprons are positioned behind cooking stations with kitchen equipment, preparing food samples for event attendees

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The company, known for being a $53-million meat firm, faces criticism for its actions, which have led to a wave of plant closures across states including Iowa, Virginia, Arkansas, Indiana, and Missouri.

Social Media Users Go After Tyson Foods

Angry Americans took to social media to voice their opinion on the allegations.

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One user wrote, “Tyson is closing its facility in Perry, Iowa, and laying off its 1,200 workers. Instead, they plan to hire thousands of new illegals in states like New York. #BoycottTyson. Pass it on.”

Nationwide Concern Over Plant Closures and New Hiring Strategy

Tyson Foods’ strategy to close plants and hire asylum seekers has raised concerns nationwide. 

An aerial shot of a large Tyson Foods industrial facility with the company's logo displayed on the side of the building

Source: Tyson Foods/Facebook

The company’s effort to recruit thousands of asylum seekers in New York by offering wages of $16.50 an hour and free legal assistance for immigration has been seen by some as favoring migrant labor over U.S.-born workers.

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Legal Implications of Tyson Foods' Hiring Practices Questioned

America First Legal, a conservative action group, has questioned the legality of Tyson Foods’ hiring practices.

The logo of America First Legal, which features a stylized pillar resembling part of the American flag with stars on a blue background and stripes in red, set against a translucent overlay of the American flag

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They were quick to suggest it’s against the law for American companies to discriminate against national citizens in favor of cheaper non-citizens as employees. 

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American Citizens Come First, Says Legal Group

America First Legal highlighted potential legal issues with the company’s preference for hiring foreign-born workers.

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They wrote, “It is ILLEGAL under federal law to discriminate against American citizens based on their citizenship in favor of non-citizens of any kind when it comes to employment.”

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CEO Donnie King Under Scrutiny Amid Controversy

Tyson Foods CEO Donnie King finds himself at the center of the controversy. With a salary of $13 million a year, King’s leadership is under scrutiny as the company navigates through the backlash of its recent decisions. 

A professional portrait of Donnie King dressed in business attire. He is wearing a dark blue suit with a white shirt and a pocket square

Source: Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods has also been noted for its political contributions, further complicating the public’s perception of the company’s actions.

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National Debate Over Migration and Employment

The situation with Tyson Foods highlights a broader national debate over migration and its impact on employment. 

Close-up of a person's hands, with dark skin tone, firmly pressing down on a piece of raw red beef on a wooden cutting board

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Concerns that asylum seekers are taking jobs that might otherwise go to Americans, especially in sectors like meat-packing, have been amplified by Tyson Foods’ hiring plans. This debate is set against a backdrop of record low unemployment rates in the United States.

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Impact on Perry, Iowa: A Community Affected by Plant Closure

The closure of Tyson’s pork plant in Perry, Iowa, is a major blow to the community, affecting 1,276 workers in a town of 8,000 residents. 

A brick signboard at the entrance of Perry, Iowa, with the town's name in large, bold letters stating "PERRY" and the welcoming phrase "Make Yourself At Home!" below it

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The workforce at the plant, which includes a significant number of Latino employees, faces uncertainty as the company shifts its employment strategy toward asylum seekers.

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Tyson Foods Announces Additional Plant Closures

Beyond Iowa, Tyson Foods has announced closures of facilities in Virginia, Arkansas, Indiana, and Missouri. 

A delivery truck in motion with Gatik and Tyson Foods branding on the side panel. The truck, predominantly white with purple and black accents, features the Gatik logo with the tagline "We own the middle mile," and the Tyson logo

Source: Tyson Foods/Facebook

These decisions are part of a broader strategy to reduce operational costs following a slight decline in sales. The closures have raised concerns about the future of American jobs in these regions.

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Tyson's Recruitment Drive in New York Targets Asylum Seekers

Tyson Foods is actively seeking to hire asylum seekers in New York, aiming to fill a large number of vacancies. 

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The company’s cooperation with the Tent Partnership for Refugees is part of a broader effort to integrate asylum seekers into the workforce, offering them competitive wages and legal assistance.

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Comprehensive Benefits Offered to Asylum Seeker Hires

The company is not only offering jobs but also a range of benefits to asylum seekers, including immigration legal assistance and other perks. 

The close-up image shows the embroidered patch of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the sleeve of an officer's uniform, with the words "FIELD OPERATIONS" at the bottom. In the blurred background, a group of people with luggage appear to be waiting in a processing area

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This comprehensive approach to hiring asylum seekers is seen as a way to address labor shortages and high turnover rates in some of Tyson Foods’ plants.

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Congressional Scrutiny Over Tyson Foods' Hiring Practices

Following the announcement of Tyson Foods’ layoffs and subsequent hiring of asylum seekers, Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio has voiced significant concerns.

Portrait of J.D. Vance, wearing a dark suit and tie. He stands in front of an American flag on the left and an Ohio state flag on the right

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The senator claims his associates will monitor Tyson Foods to ensure the company is acting in accordance with American laws.

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Republicans Plan to Hammer the Point Home

Sen. Vance said, “We’re certainly going to look into whether we can change that [ability], assuming Tyson is operating legally. 

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“All we know is that they are firing American workers and hiring illegal aliens to replace them. This is the entire point of illegal immigration — and Republicans, we’ve got to hammer this point home.”

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Broader Implications of Tyson Foods' Hiring Practices

The controversy surrounding Tyson Foods’ decision to lay off workers and hire asylum seekers reflects broader concerns about the impact of migration on the U.S. job market. 

The exterior of the Tyson Learning Center is shown, with the building featuring a modern design with a beige facade, large glass windows, and a distinctive blue awning. The awning is adorned with the Tyson logo and the words "Tyson Learning Center"

Source: Tyson Foods/Facebook

The company’s actions have sparked a discussion about employment opportunities for Americans and the role of migrant labor in the economy. This debate touches on fundamental questions about the future of work in America.

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Tyson Foods Aim to Set the Record Straight

In the wake of the news of boycotts, Tyson Foods was forced to make several statements that suggest the claims of hiring 52,000 illegal immigrants were false.

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According to a statement the food production company shared with Fox News, there’s been “a lot of misinformation in the media about our company” recently, and “we feel compelled to set the record straight.”

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No Plans to Hire Immigrants in Place of Americans

Tyson Foods first spoke to the allegation they plan to replace American workers with illegal immigrants, claiming the idea was preposterous.

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“Any insinuation that we would cut American jobs to hire immigrant workers is completely false,” the statement said.

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Tyson Foods Against the Hiring of Illegal Immigrants

Tyson Foods went on to claim they are strongly opposed to hiring illegal immigrants. 

In an aerial view, immigrants seeking asylum in the United States wait in line near the border fence to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol

Source: Getty Images

“Tyson Foods is strongly opposed to illegal immigration, and we 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,” they said.

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Where Did the False Claims Originate?

The claims of Tyson Foods hiring 52,000 illegal immigrants appear to have stemmed from a Bloomberg article published on March 11 claims AP News.

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During a portion of the article, Bloomberg quotes Garrett Dolan, associate director of human resources at Tyson, who supposedly said the company plans to hire 52,000 people for factory jobs in 2024. Yet, according to Tyson, Dolan “misspoke.”

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Scripps News Forced to Retract Article

Shortly after the Bloomberg article went live, Scripps News published its own, claiming that Tyson Foods “wants to hire 52,000 asylum seekers for factory jobs.”

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However, the media group later retracted the article after realizing it contained  “serious factual inaccuracies.”

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American Companies Rely on Immigrant Labor

Speaking with AP News, Rebekah Wolf, senior policy counsel at the American Immigration Council, claims that many of America’s largest companies rely on immigrant labor.

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Tyson Foods currently employs 42,000 people who are not American citizens. However, they are refugees and people who’ve been granted asylum in the US. These individuals are immediately granted work permits as soon as they enter the nation, according to AP News

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Tyson Foods Denies It Plans to Hire Illegal Immigrants

According to Wolf, the U.S. has “really robust policies for ensuring that big companies like Tyson are employing people who are authorized to work in the United States.”

A protestor holds up a sign in Chicago in support of immigrants.

Source: Charles Edward Miller/Wikimedia

Tyson Foods claims their decision to close the plants in Perry and other US locations comes amidst new business strategies. The food production company stands by its statement that “any insinuation that we would cut American jobs to hire immigrant workers is completely false.”

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