Immigrants and jobs causing uproar in Shelbyville, TN again!

Update Feb. 16th:   MSNBC has more.

Update Feb. 15th:   More on the story here.  See the editorial today also.

Vans full of immigrants from many countries were driven from Nashville to Shelbyville, TN Sunday evening to sleep on the sidewalks and wait for the employment office to open Monday morning—all seeking a limited number of jobs at a nearby Tyson’s chicken processing plant.   Longtime readers will recall we have written extensively on Shelbyville’s efforts to cope with the large Somali population that Tyson’s had previously attracted to the town.

On Monday we reported on the scuffle that broke out among those waiting in line.  Today’s article by Brian Mosely goes into some detail about how that incident evolved.   By the way, Mosely received a statewide Associated Press award last year for his investigative series on the Somalis of Shelbyville.

Egyptians are among the immigrants arriving this time.

As an organizer from Nashville searched for housing and services for about 50 Egyptian men and their families who want to move to Shelbyville to be close to their new jobs at Tyson Foods, the county mayor said that the food giant should hire Bedford County residents first.

It seems the Coptic church (the Nashville congregation) is helping the Egyptians find work, but these are not refugees in the usual sense.    Although the way the Copts are treated by Muslims in  their homeland, they might as well be refugees.   This particular group is composed of successful recipients of diversity lottery visas.

Father Boutros said Wednesday that the Egyptians were not refugees, but legal immigrants that were admitted to this country through a lottery visa.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Diversity Lottery (DV) Program makes 55,000 immigrant visas available through a lottery to people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.


“They don’t know anything about the states, so they’re starting from scratch,” Michael said of the families. “Father Boutros asked me to come down to find out what we can tell these families about this town.”

One of the first things they need to know about the town is that, like other cities in America right now, jobs are scarce and Americans want Americans to get the jobs first.  And, they need to be aware of the  town’s recent rocky history with the Somali Muslims.

Concerns have once again risen in Shelbyville about immigrants and refugees coming to Bedford County to apply for jobs at the Tyson Foods poultry plant.

Law enforcement were 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, began cutting in line for the coveted jobs.

But readers of the Times-Gazette and others in the community have expressed anger that the jobs are being taken by large groups of foreign nationals instead of local people.

So now if you are wondering why I titled this post as I did, go read the comments to this story and see what I mean by an “uproar.”

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