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Mitchell Considers EB-3 Visa Program to Boost Dwindling Workforce

EB-5 didn’t work out too well, so let’s try EB-3!

After a decade-plus of selling green cards to investors to get Korean and Chinese capital for CAFOs, ag-industrial projects, and the Deadwood Mountain Grand Casino, South Dakota ended up with one EB-5 pusher dead, its EB-5 chief convicted of a felony, and the federal government’s verdict that South Dakota was too corrupt to use the perpetually troubling visa-investment program.

Rather than trying again to sell visas to rich foreign investors in hopes that their money would build viable job-supporting businesses, employers in Mitchell and elsewhere in South Dakota are recruiting immigrants who will work for their visas under the EB-3 program:

In an attempt to fill worker shortages Mitchell businesses are grappling with, the Mitchell Area Development Corporation is calling on a recruiting company to bring legal immigrants to fill jobs.

Leaders of job recruiting company Kennedy Access pitched their services Wednesday in front of a group of local business leaders, school administrators and city officials. Through its EB3 program, the company recruits immigrants from a variety of countries seeking to work in the U.S. and assists them in their journey by facilitating legal entrance and attaining a green card.

Julian Chung, director of Kennedy Access, touted the company’s services for bringing businesses “excellent workers” who aspire to “stay and be permanent” U.S. citizens.

“The U.S. government will provide the worker’s green cards and permanent residence in exchange for the workers providing labor in U.S. businesses that need workers. The workers come here with the intent to stay and be permanent residents,” Chung said, noting businesses utilizing the recruiting service can request an unlimited number of workers [Sam Fosness, “‘They’re Coming Here to Be Americans’: Mitchell Considers Legal Immigrants to Boost Workforce,” Mitchell Daily Republic via Yahoo, 2022.09.07].

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offers EB-3 visas to professionals, skilled workers, and unskilled workers but only for for work “for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.” Applicants must have job offers in hand; the U.S. firms hiring them must file the I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, which costs $700. The EB-3 visa also allows the worker to bring a spouse and children to America, because we Americans do value families.

EB-3 applications for mainland Chinese and Indian workers are backlogged for years, but there’s no waiting for EB-5 applicants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, or other countries.

Kennedy Access is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia. The company says it serves 8 companies in 14 locations in 10 states:

Kennedy Access, map of client locations on "Services" webpage, retrieved 2022.09.09.
Kennedy Access, map of client locations on “Services” webpage, retrieved 2022.09.09.

Kennedy Access’s director Julian Chung tells Fosness that his company has recruited for Yankton, Huron, and Sioux Falls employers; evidently they are also working for Demkota Beef in Aberdeen. Two of the three jobs that splash up on Kennedy Access’s home page today are South Dakota jobs:

Kennedy Access, splash screen spotlighting job offerings in Georgia and South Dakota, screen cap 2022.09.09.
Kennedy Access, home page splash screen spotlighting job offerings in Georgia and South Dakota, screen cap 2022.09.09.

$17 an hour to handle metal in a hot shop in Yankton, $20 an hour to chop cows in Aberdeen—evidently there are no qualified workers for those jobs available in Yankton and Aberdeen right now, so come on in, foreign friends!

But those workers will need to put in over a thousand hours to buy their green cards. Dakota  Provisions recruiter and Kennedy Access client Smoky Heuston tells Fosness that Kennedy Access charges his company $250 per employee recruited, the EB-3 workers are (Fosness’s words) “looking at a tab of $25,000 to make the move with the help of Kennedy Access.”

Heuston says the EB-3 workers who come pluck his turkeys have a pretty high turnover rate—around half do their required year and then leave Huron to join family elsewhere in the States. But Heuston says that year of hard work—”how many of you could use an employee who comes for a year and doesn’t miss a day?”—is worth Dakota Provisions’ investment. I can also see where investing directly in workers, the actual producers of value, may result in better economic development than bankrolling projects with cash from foreign investors whose primary interest is in jumping the queue and getting to American on an EB-5 visa, not in actually paying attention to the operations and enduring success of the project that’s taking their money.

But the increasing interest in EB-3 visa workers further puts the lie to Governor Kristi Noem’s Labor Day claim that South Dakota’s workforce is “stronger than ever.” Now more than ever, South Dakota doesn’t have enough workers to do the work that needs to get done; now more than ever, South Dakota has to turn to aspiring Americans, our hopeful friends from overseas, to staff our factories.


  1. Loren 2022-09-09 12:39

    But what about “the wall?” The last thing you want to do when you are trying to keep immigrants out is to offer them a JOB! It’s so hard to keep up… ;-)

  2. 96Tears 2022-09-09 14:05

    Did the Mitchell Area Development Corporation clear all of this with Republican voters in Lawrence County? Those folks said their biggest problem was immigrants who make them afraid to go out in public, especially after sundown. And here MAD Corporation wants to bring more of those Godless heathens to take ‘Merican jobs, rape our white women and replace us til there ain’t no whiteys left to defend us from Coastal woke Liberals.

    Seriously, what is the policy with those dumb rednecks? Is it okay to bring in immigrants as long as a white man is guaranteed to get rich, but not okay if those immigrants are only looking for a decent job and security for their families?

  3. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-09 17:32

    The Jim River Valley is turning over. The Norwegians, Swedes and Germans are aging out. The Karen of Cambodia, the Vietnamese and Hmong, Mexicans, Guatamalans , Hondurans, and Philipipinos are eager to take their place. The Hutterites are doing well and will continue to do so. Hopefully, the area will become a very interesting place. All of these nationalities are very family oriented and will hustle to make a living.All of these people are usually very thrifty and very attracted to the goal of owning property, a right they have been denied in their home countries.

  4. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-09 17:38

    Pardon me, the Karen people originate in southern Burma. They have fought a war for their independence with the various governments of Burma since 1949 and many have been driven out of their homeland. I believe the Karen who work in Huron came from refugee camps in Thailand.

  5. Nick Nemec 2022-09-09 18:37

    Once a couple years ago I was standing in the checkout line at the Huron Walmart, Ahead of me was a south Asian family speaking what I assume was Karen and a Hispanic couple speaking Spanish, behind me were some Hutterite women speaking German. Our state is changing, and that is OK.

  6. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-09-09 20:24

    South Dakota and the nation cannot get “browner” (local disparaging euphemism) fast enough for me. I’m a geezer, and I’m sooo tired of the Jensons, Andersons, Thorsons, Larsons, Arnesons, Aabergs, Jorgensons, Bergesons, Sandersons, Thompsons, Wilsons, Nelsons, Johnsons, Rassmussons, (catchin’ the drift here?) mourning their precious White Dynasties already.

    Change is good; change is excellent.

  7. All Mammal 2022-09-10 00:07

    I do know new Americans make great Americans. New Americans, when they feel accepted and not afraid, are the best neighbors and will put your house out if it starts on fire while you are away. They also obey the law, send their kids to school with their homework completed and are exemplary pillars of the community.

    I read this little axiom I linked and found it very interesting. I love the wisdom of grandfathers. And grandmothers. Our elders have that exotic knowledge. When they drop little nuggets of what they know from a far away world, it is a precious treasure. I almost feel like immigrants possess that kind of lost information.

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