Tyson Foods has committed $1 million to a partnership with Arkansas Immigrant Defense to provide legal services to smooth the way for immigrants and refugees into the workforce.
A release said the money will go to help with employment authorization and green card renewals and petitions for citizenship. Stephen Coger, executive director of AID, said the program could help hundreds in Arkansas with a path to legal status. That’s good for the company as well as workers, he said.
AID will send three full-time staff members to 40 Tyson plants in 14 states to meet with workers. Those who eventually are naturalized citizens will be reimbursed by Tyson for the naturalization fee of about $700.
Said the release:
TIP addresses team member needs in a holistic way. A lack of stable, lawful permanent status results in issues beyond just immigration. It can impact transportation, education, access to childcare, housing, and other benefits. Ultimately, this program improves the overall well-being of our clients and Tyson team members. Because of TIP, hundreds of immigrants will live more secure lives with permanent access to employment authorization, a driver’s license, and lawful status that affords protection from concerns about deportation and family unity.
Typically, these services would cost a client hundreds of dollars, if not thousands. AID has already served over 263 clients through in-plant consultations. The American Immigration Lawyers Association published a Marketplace Study in 2016 that showed the average hourly rate of an immigration attorney in the Mid-South is $250. Thanks to Tyson, their team members have saved hundreds of dollars by working with Arkansas Immigrant Defense.