The United States has always prided itself as a nation of immigrants. ABIL believes that there has been disturbing rhetoric against immigrants and refugees in the current presidential election season. This has been exemplified in racist taunts and epithets against Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant of Kurdish descent, who is the founder of the highly successful Chobani business that makes Greek yogurt and employs about 2,000 people, some of whom are refugees. Chobani’s annual yogurt sales are $1.5 billion. According to a recent New York Times article, false stories have been published by right wing news outlets like Brietbart News and WND claiming that Mr. Ulukaya wants “to drown the United States in Muslims.” Some articles have also drawn a connection, again falsely, between Chobani hiring refugees and a spike in tuberculosis. This has led to unfortunate calls on Facebook and Twitter to boycott Chobani.
The Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, better known as ABIL, condemns such xenophobic attacks against a successful immigrant entrepreneur who has created jobs in the United States. It is already difficult for a foreign entrepreneur to obtain legal status in the United States under the current broken immigration system, and to then be successful and create thousands of jobs. Mr. Ulukaya is a shining example of an immigrant entrepreneur who has overcome these obstacles to benefit the United States. “Foreign born entrepreneurs like Mr. Ulukaya must be welcomed rather than attacked in such a shameful and despicable manner,” ABIL’s President Steve Garfinkel stated. “These attacks go against the grain of what America represents – a nation that has always welcomed those to its shores who wish to better themselves and contribute to the country.”
Regardless of one’s party affiliation, ABIL strongly advocates that all immigrants be respected for the benefits they bring to the United States, whether as entrepreneurs or as hard working employees. ABIL also calls for urgent reform of the immigration system that can tap into the talents of more immigrants like Mr. Ulukaya who bring growth and prosperity to America.