Federal funding for foreign job seekers unfair
The local Tyson Foods processing plant has again come under fire recently, and unfairly -- this time for following federal equal employment opportunity guidelines.
Concerns rose in Shelbyville this week after law enforcement was called out early Monday to quell a disturbance at the state unemployment office downtown after about 150 people, including a large number of refugees and others brought from Nashville by various charitable organizations, camped overnight to apply for Tyson jobs.
Members of our community have expressed anger that jobs are being taken by foreign nationals instead of local workers, and that anger has been wrongly directed at Tyson, which employs 1,300 people, the majority of whom are local residents. Tyson also recruits locally through job fairs and employment advertising.
We believe employment opportunities should be equally available for all legal workers, and agree that Tyson is following the law in its hiring practice, in this instance.
We do not, however, agree with our tax dollars being used to ship people to our county to apply for jobs.
Although our country should be open to immigration, we should not be funding it with our tax dollars.
Most of us are descendants of similar immigrants in centuries past. But those immigrants, unlike some today, scraped and scratched to get ahead, without taxpayer assistance.
It led to a hearty U.S. population that emerged to be a world-leading nation during the last century.
We fear that current trends by the government to unwisely hand out our money to religious organizations that pass it on to foreign nationals seeking jobs in these difficult times may help reverse that.
World Relief, one organization that has shipped foreign nationals to apply for jobs in Shelbyville, told the Times-Gazette Monday that it contracts with the govenrment to do so. The organization received more than $31 million in federal grants in 2008, according to its financial report, available at www.wr.org.
This practice, funded by the federal government, makes it unfairly competitive to those who live here and are willing and able to take those jobs.
These are religious organizations. If they want to ship folks down here, let them pay for it out of their church coffers, rather than out of our tax dollars. If not, let the immigrants scratch up their own bus fare to Shelbyville.
By the same token, local unemployed members of the workforce must industriously pursue employment.
Unemployed workers who haven't been motivated enough to apply for those jobs, and are merely biding their time while they are living off unemployment benefits, are really no better. Those benefits are paid by taxpayers as well.
-- This editorial represents the position of the Times-Gazette's editorial board on this issue. The editorial board consists of Hugh Jones, publisher; William Mitchell, general manager; John Philleo, editor; and John Carney, city editor.