WND, November 14, 2017
Chobani Yogurt, the world’s largest yogurt company, which relies heavily on imported refugee labor, is investing $20 million to expand its plant in Twin Falls, Idaho.
The company, which employs hundreds of refugees in its factories, has faced national backlash and boycotts over its role in the controversial issue of refugee settlement. The concerns have been well documented by WND and other news organizations, including a Wall Street Journal story headlined “In Aftermath of Terror Attacks, Tensions Rise in Idaho Over Refugee Workers.”
But Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya told the Associated Press he stands by his decision to expand his Greek yogurt company in south-central Idaho, which is reportedly among the states with the highest percentage refugee population.
During Thursday’s expansion launch, Idaho’s Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter praised Chobani’s impact on the community.
Ulukaya, a Kurdish Muslim and immigrant from Turkey, came to the U.S in 1994 to study business. He created his own yogurt recipe and bought a Kraft Foods yogurt plant in central New York state with a loan from the Small Business Administration in 2005.
As WND reported, Ulukaya made a pitch for more refugees to be hired by corporate America at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2016. He urged CEOs there to join his campaign to throw corporate cash, lobbying initiatives, services and jobs to refugees. Six companies subsequently agreed after to hire more refugees or provide free services to them: Ikea, MasterCard, Airbnb, LinkedIn, Western Union and UPS.
“The minute they get a job, that’s the minute they stop being a refugee,” Ulukaya told Steve Kroft. “They are the most loyal, hard-working people right now in our plant here [in New York]. We have 19 different nationalities, 16 different translators.”
“They got here legally. They’ve gone through a most dangerous journey. They lost their family members. They lost everything they have. And here they are. They are either going to be a part of society or they are going to lose it again,” he said of two sisters he employs. “The No. 1 thing that you can do is provide them jobs. The minute they get a job, that’s the minute they stop being a refugee.”
Chobani’s welcoming of refugees in Idaho also has taken a darker turn, however, prompting calls to boycott the yogurt giant after a spike in violent crimes perpetrated by Muslim refugees.
A five-year-old girl was sexually assaulted last August at the hands of three refugee boys of the Twin Falls refugee resettlement program. Days later, a Muslim refugee molested a mentally handicapped woman, prompting criticism that Chobani’s drive for cheap labor and the refugee resettlement there were to blame for the string of horrific crimes.
The influx of refugees has also caused the number of active TB cases in Twin Falls to spike by 500 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to Breitbart News.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. State Department has shipped more than 12,000 refugees directly from the Third World to Idaho, most landing in Twin Falls. Nearly half have come from some of the world’s most notorious jihadist hot zones, including Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Pakistan, according to the federal refugee database.