Americans eat an average of 94 pounds of chicken each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. All that chicken comes from somewhere, and that somewhere came under scrutiny in August when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided seven poultry plants in Mississippi, arresting about 680 people believed to be unauthorized workers.
Meatpacking, farming, construction and manufacturing all rely heavily on an immigrant workforce. With few slots in temporary worker programs, a lot of the workers who meet that demand are undocumented.
The Trump administration has made cracking down on these workers a priority, but employers are rarely charged for hiring them. More often, they get “no-match letters” from the government to say their employees may be unauthorized, which leads to a reshuffling of workers but few deportations.
Now, frustrated by the stalemate in Washington on immigration reform, business owners are calling for solutions.