Tyson Foods, a large employer of immigrant labor, is committing more than $1 million to support immigrant employees in the U.S. with legal services needed to acquire citizenship. The money will allow employees to cover the citizenship fees of around $725 per person.
Tyson works with Immigrant Connection and Arkansas Immigrant Defense which are non-profit groups that help provide immigrant groups with legal services, such as employment authorization renewals and petitions for citizenship. In the past year, Tyson said the program has helped more than 500 Tyson employees.
Tyson Foods said its U.S. workforce includes employees from more than 160 countries and they collectively speak more than 50 languages. The Tyson Immigration Partnership (TIP) helps provide employees with legal services necessary to acquire U.S. citizenship. Tyson said the program has been available in seven of its facilities but the funding boost will expand services to 40 facilities in 14 states.
“Starting the process to become a citizen was intimidating and scary, but I wanted stability for me and my family. Without the people involved in the programs, I would not have the confidence to pursue citizenship,” said José Avjix, a Tyson employee in Green Forest, Ark.
Immigrant Connection is hosting monthly informational meetings for Tyson workers at 27 U.S. company locations and Arkansas Immigrant Defense is visiting 13 locations in Arkansas, the company noted in the release.
Tyson said the company has historically been attractive to immigrants because of the number of entry-level jobs with benefits and competitive pay. Tyson said the average rate of hourly pay is more than $18 per hour. When adding in benefits like insurance and vacation the average hourly compensation package is valued at $24.