The Plastics Blog
By Don Loepp | About The Plastics Blog

Plastics company CEO speaks out on immigration reform

By Don Loepp | August 11, 2014 12:15 pm ET

Kevin Kelly, CEO of flexible packaging company Emerald Packaging Inc., has written a powerful story for the National Catholic Reporter about the need for immigration reform in the United States, and the impact of the current system on employers and workers.

Immigration raids harm immigrants, employers is a depressing story that uses Kelly's personal experiences to give readers a real-life look at the issue. 

He writes about how about two years ago, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency conducted a "silent raid" on Emerald's headquarters in Union City, Calif. After a three-week audit, the company lost 18 workers, who Kelly describs as "some of our longest-tenured employees, the best machinists and operators," of the company's 200-strong work force.

The impact on the workers? Some lost their homes to foreclosure. They and their families suffered from anxiety and depression — including one who "turned out to be a citizen whose status had been confused by the movement of his family back and forth across the border and improper record-keeping by our government."

Losing trusted employees had an impact on Kelly and Emerald Packaging, too.

I highly recommend Kelly's story, and a related post for the Musings of a CEO blog — even for readers who dislike political topics, or who disagree with this take on the immigration reform debate. 

For anyone who isn't familiar with Kelly and Emerald Packaging, I recommend reading Roger Renstrom's story in Plastics News last year about the 2013 Leo Shluker award winner, "Emerald's Kelly carries on family tradition, wins Leo Shluker award," or these more recent stories about expansion projects at the company, "Emerald testing new HP digital press" and "Emerald Packaging adding pouch making and digital printing."

And for company managers who may think that the E-Verify system has them covered in the case of the silent raid, like the one that Kelly experienced, our Washington-based reporter Gayle S. Putrich suggested that I share information about some alternatives that employers can pursue, including H-2B Certification for Temporary Non-Agricultural Work and Permanent Labor Certification.


Recent Blog Posts

Law denies benefits to former Nazis, including former plastics executive   December 18, 2014 5:53 pm ET
Study estimates 269,000 tons of plastic in world's oceans   December 10, 2014 7:25 pm ET
Plastics and politics ... it's serious business   December 4, 2014 5:20 pm ET
Thanksgiving balloons — yep, they're plastic   November 26, 2014 1:59 pm ET
New registration process for plasticsnews.com (Psst: It's still free)   November 18, 2014 10:44 am ET
Astronauts, 3-D printing and hoverboards? Sounds good   November 5, 2014 11:01 am ET

Comments

Plastics company CEO speaks out on immigration reform

By Don Loepp

Published: August 11, 2014 12:15 pm ET
Updated: August 11, 2014 1:25 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events