In 2001, Tyson Foods, one of the world’s leading chicken processors, was indicted on charges that it recruited undocumented migrants to work in its plants across the rural United States. In the following years, Tyson engaged in an operation to purge the largest chicken plant in the country of hundreds of unionized immigrant workers, relying heavily on the Social Security Administration’s controversial “No-Match” program to shape its termination practices. In response, a local campaign called for “Justice and Dignity” in the form of an improved corporate policy that would simultaneously serve the interests of the company, its workers, and their communities. This article chronicles that localized struggle and its national aftermath, illuminating the far-reaching effects federal “employer sanctions” have had on transnational corporations and their policymakers, on workers of different backgrounds, and on strategies used to advocate for worker rights. Politically engaged ethnography reveals how differentially positioned actors navigate and experience the neoliberal immigration and employment laws of the United States while deepening our understanding of the workings of the poultry industry, the recruitment of immigrant workers, and the anthropology of organized labor.

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