The immigration raids conducted last week in Mississippi by President Donald Trump’s administration may have just helped further lower America’s unemployment rate.
In the days immediately following the raids on seven poultry processing plants and the subsequent arrests of nearly 700 illegal alien workers, one of the companies responsible for managing employees at the plants held a job fair that reportedly attracted at least 150 applications from U.S. citizens.
@gabegutierrez NOT NEWS @ NBC: “Americans Apply for Jobs at Koch Foods After ICE Raid Roughly 150 locals attended an August 12 job fair to apply for jobs at the Koch Foods’ plants in Mississippi. The fair was run after the August 7 removal of 243 alleged illegal migrants ” pic.twitter.com/Ti2vy2SOVs
— John Day (@day1038) August 14, 2019
“Koch Foods, based near Chicago, held the job fair to recruit new workers at one of its Morton plants, after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Wednesday arrested 243 workers suspected of working without legal authorization,” the Associated Press reported on Monday.
“By 10 a.m., a crowd of dozens was on hand, and steady stream of people came and went. Most were black and spoke with accents from the American South. A few appeared white or Hispanic.”
(Data shows that illegal immigration is especially damaging to the black community.)
But all of them were presumably U.S. citizens, given as two forms of legitimate identification were reportedly required to apply.
Reporting live from the fair Monday afternoon, Fox News Senior Correspondent Rick Leventhal revealed that 150 applications were submitted within the first three hours of the fair alone.
Source: Fox Business Network
What’s unclear is why Koch Foods didn’t hold a similar job fair the first time around — why it instead wound up hiring illegal aliens to perform work that could have been done by Americans. The company has – for its part – blamed its hiring of illegal aliens on the federal government’s inconsistent laws.
“Tension exists between federal laws on preventing discrimination, such as national origin discrimination, and immigration laws on verifying employment eligibility,” the company wrote in a statement following the arrests last week.
“For instance, federal law prohibits an employer from requesting during the employment verification process more documents than the employee presents when the employee presents documents that appear authentic. Requesting more documents subjects an employer to liability for ‘over documentation’ discrimination.”
“Similarly, an employer would commit unlawful national origin discrimination if it refused to hire a worker on the basis that the worker comes from another country if the worker presents what appear to be authentic documents. Furthermore, the E-Verify system does not detect if a worker is working under a stolen identity of an authorized person.”
The “net effect” of all this legislation, the company argued, is that companies “can dutifully and vigilantly comply with the immigration laws and still not know if some of its workers are unauthorized.”
The raid resulted in a significant disruption of work & terribly impacted the lives of many workers. The affidavit makes it clear, the raid was directed at individuals, not the company
READ MORE: https://t.co/6WKmCOzqT6 #KochFoods #boycottkochfoods #ICEraidsMS #KochFoods #ICEraid
— KochFoods (@Koch_Foods) August 11, 2019
The legitimacy of Koch’s claims are unclear. While they seem authentic at first glance, one Koch official did try to downplay the previous week’s raids, acting as if the job fair was a pre-scheduled event versus a spontaneous one.
“They are part of normal efforts to employ. In this environment of relative full employment, most businesses are looking for qualified applicants; Koch is no different,” Koch spokesman Jim Gilliland wrote in an email to the AP, adding that job fairs are a “frequent occurrence.”
But holding a job fair days after an immigration raid is certainly not a “frequent occurrence.” Nor is it a “frequent occurrence” for a company like Koch to contact the government literally within hours of said raid.
“The fair is being hosted by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. Koch representatives contacted state employment officials Wednesday, the same day two of its Mississippi plants were raided by immigration authorities,” CNN confirmed Monday, citing the words of department spokeswoman Dianne Bell.
The company’s seeming lack of honesty — its rhetoric about job fairs being a “frequent occurrence” — call into question whether it can be trusted. So does its history.
“Long before U.S. immigration authorities arrested 680 people at agricultural processing facilities in Mississippi this week, one of the five targeted companies faced allegations of serious labor violations including intimidation, harassment and exploitation of its largely immigrant work force,” Reuters pointed out in a report last Friday, citing a federal lawsuit.
“The workers’ complaints spanned 2004 to 2008, when the plant employed more than 500 people. They alleged that a manager would grope women from behind while they were working, punch employees and throw chicken parts at them. Workers also alleged that supervisors coerced payments from them for everything from medical leave and promotions to bathroom breaks.”
Here’s the key line: “Some workers at the Mississippi plant who lacked legal immigration status alleged in court documents that supervisors threatened to turn them in to authorities if they spoke out about their concerns.”
While the Trump administration’s immigration raids were a positive for America — and so is the job fair that Koch Foods held Monday — the company’s history suggests that the administration will need to do more if it wants to permanently stem the hiring of illegal alien labor.
In the meantime, hundreds of additional Americans like those seen in the video below now have the opportunity to work and earn a living: