Mar 19, 2024 - News

Conservative investor drops Tyson Foods over immigration flap

A photo of a sign reading Tyson Foods World Headquarters with green grass and a brown building in the background.

Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

A conservative investment fund divested its holdings in Tyson Foods saying the company's plans to hire refugees and asylum seekers will alienate customers amid the crisis at the southern border.

Driving the news: Misinformation about Tyson's hiring practices has circulated online since Bloomberg first reported the meatpacking giant would hire immigrants through the Tent Partnership for Refugees, created by Chobani yogurt founder Hamdi Ulukaya.

Between the lines: Asylum hopefuls are typically eligible for work permits 180 days after they apply for the legal status, though some can receive them sooner. Many wait years before their first hearing, but are allowed to work in the meantime, Bloomberg reports.

Reality check: The company has hired refugees and immigrants for years to supplement its workforce, but only those with legal standing to work in the U.S.

  • Tyson was the first major food company to partner with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on its Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers program.
  • It also uses E-Verify, an online employment verification program.

What they're saying: "Any insinuation that we would cut American jobs to hire immigrant workers is completely false," the company said in a statement.

The bottom line: Tyson is the largest American-owned food processor in the U.S.

  • Pilgrim's, Swift and Certified Angus Beef brands are owned by Brazilian company JBS Foods.
  • Smithfield Foods is owned by WH Group of China.

Disclosure: Reporter Worth Sparkman formerly worked at Tyson Foods.

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