Agriprocessors hits another…
new low. Now the president of a county (okay, a very small country – but still a country, nonetheless) has come out against it.
Pacific Magazine reports:
Remengesau Against Efforts To Hire Palauans For U.S. Meatpacking Plant
Palau President Tommy Remengesau says a U.S. meatpacking company’s efforts to recruit Palauans could “jeopardize their well being.”
“It is not the job of this government to interfere with people's options for economic prosperity. However, it is the government's greatest responsibility to protect its citizens and I strongly believe that this could end up jeopardizing the well being of many Palauans who simply want to make a better life," Remengesau said in a press release.
Agriprocessors, Inc. in Postville, Iowa has been recruiting Palauans to work in its meat processing plant. The firm earlier was raided by U.S. immigration officials, who found that over 300 workers were illegal immigrants.
Under their country’s “Compact of Free Association” with the United States, Palauans can travel to the U.S. without a visa, and work in the country without having to obtain a “green card.”
Over 100 Palauans originally applied to work at Agriprocessors, following a recruiting drive in Palau. But recent criticism of the hiring campaign – including the governor of Iowa – has reportedly cut the active list to 20 Palauans.
The Palau couple at the center of this controversy, who were acting as Agriprocessor’s in-country agents, told Pacific Magazine that they were simply trying to help Palauans get jobs in the United States.
Imelda Nakamura and her husband, Webster Franz, in an interview with Pacific Magazine said they were motivated by news stories of the U.S. immigration raids on Agriprocessors.
“We were simply attempting to help Palauans find work in the U.S. and see how many Palauans might be interested in making such a move. This has been done in the past and generally Palauans have succeeded in the US because they are hard workers,” Franz said.
Franz said that he and his wife received no compensation or commissions for recruiting Palauans.
Franz also said that as a result of the publicity, he and his wife are no longer involved in the Agriprocessors’ efforts in Palau.
"We will provide information to those that inquire of us but as a result of this controversy have decided to leave the seeking of a job totally to individual decision of applicants and are no longer actively involved in the recruitment project,” Franz said.