Outside big cities: Immigrant stories from Mankato, Missouri, Georgia


By David Wilson from Oak Park, Illinois, USA – 20160707 59 Marshall, Missouri, CC BY 2.0, Link

A trio of articles highlights immigrant contributions to Minnesota’s economy, Salvadorans in small-town Morris, Missouri, and Dalton, Georgia’s dependence on immigrant workers. The reports from Mankato, Morris, and Dalton highlight a reality documented by the Census Bureau but still unfamiliar to many: “Immigrants and refugees now make up 31% of new residents in rural communities,

As rural population declines, communities suffer from loss of businesses, school closings, and aging populations. Immigrants arrive as new consumers, employees, business owners, and students. With a generally younger demographic profile, their families keep rural schools open and bring new businesses to Main Street. As the Center for Rural Affairs wrote last year:

Across rural America, there are examples of small-town schools that are full again thanks to immigrants. We have seen towns once experiencing steep population loss that are stable or even growing as new immigrants arrive. With these new arrivals, many successful small businesses and even new farms are popping up. As new leaders emerge, they help make their towns stronger. All of this brings renewed opportunity to rural America.”

In other immigration news:

The big story from the Supreme Court is a non-story: the justices did not announce anything about the administration’s request for an expedited appeal hearing on DACA. Does that mean the Court decided not to allow the unusual expedited hearing? Or will they discuss the case further this Friday and make an announcement next week? Stay tuned. e

ICE arrested a Philadelphia man as he applied for legal residence based on marriage to a U.S. citizen. In another family values move, ICE is separating parents and children who seek asylum.

Our View: Immigrant Hirings Help State Economy (Mankato Free Press, 2/2018)

In an economic context the increase in immigrant population in Minnesota has been a plus and will continue to be so if we do thorough planning. The foreign-born labor force expanded by 40 percent from 2006 to 2016 compared with 2.4 percent growth among the native-born workforce, according to the DEED report….

“Numerous technology and health-care field jobs are struggling to fill positions and that demand is predicted well into the future. The key to filling all the jobs in demand within this region is to educate and train people of all ethnicities to fill the gap. When immigrant parents are asked about what their children aspire to be, many of them say doctors, nurses and engineers.

“Our state’s population is evolving and needs to continue to do so to stay relevant. Planning for those changes by all levels of government and multiple institutions and agencies in our communities will ensure that Minnesota maintains its status as an economically viable place to live.”

The Uprooting: Tight clamp on immigration hits Missouri farm town (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2/19/18)

Salvadoran TPS holders have been in the U.S. for years. Every 18 months since 2001, they have re-registered for the legal documentation and meanwhile become more rooted in communities such as this town of 13,000 people, 180 miles west of St. Louis.

“We are here legally,” said Quinteros, in a plea to stay. “We work. We have driver’s licenses. We buy homes. We buy cars from the dealers.”

Why Employers in Georgia Are Watching the Immigration Debate Closely (NPR, 2/19/18)

“Roberts supports President Trump, who he thinks has been good for business. Still, Roberts is anxious about what the president’s immigration policies could mean for the local economy. He’s particularly concerned about the future of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals….

“What kind of impact, if those folks are gonna be deported, what’s that gonna have on the labor force?” Roberts asked. “It’s a legitimate question.” …

“DACA has been a big issue for us,” said Rob Bradham, president of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce. “Just because they’re valuable employees to our industries, and we don’t we don’t want to lose them.” Bradham says as many as 4,000 DACA recipients live in the Dalton area.

“That’s not the only thing employers here are worried about.”

In other immigration news

No decision yet  (SCOTUSblog, 2/20/18)

“The court did not act on the federal government’s petition for review of a dispute over whether the Trump administration can terminate the program known as “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” which allows undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to apply for protection from deportation. In a relatively rare move, the government asked the Supreme Court to weigh in even before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled on the Trump administration’s appeal of a January 9 ruling by a federal judge in California, who blocked the federal government from ending the DACA program. Many court watchers believed that if the justices planned to grant the government’s request and hear oral argument in the case this term, they would have done so last Friday, shortly after their conference, to jump-start what would be an expedited briefing schedule. The justices likely will consider the case again at their conference on Friday, February 23.”

Seeking legal status in America, immigrant grabbed in Philly by ICE and jailed (Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/19/18)

Paul Frame says his husband, Jose “Ivan” Nunez, was doing exactly what immigration critics always demand — “getting in line,” filing papers “the right way” so he could live in America legally.

“Three weeks ago, the married couple were in the middle of an interview with officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in West Philadelphia, Frame and his supporters say, when ICE agents showed up, locked Nunez in handcuffs, and took him away.”

U.S. is separating immigrant parents and children to discourage others, activists say (Los Angeles Times, 2/20/18)

“In October, El Paso immigrant advocates asked Border Patrol officials whether they were separating migrant parents from their children.

“They volunteered yes, we’re doing family separation,” Corbett recalled, adding that one agent “said it was standard practice locally here in the sector to separate all children 10 years and older from their family. We were all shocked.”

From Concentration Camps to Immigration Bans (The Bridge Initiative, 2/19/18)

“Replace the ‘military emergency’ of the World War II era with today’s discourse around ‘national security’ and we have the justification for today’s discriminatory executive orders aimed at halting immigration and banning refugees from select Muslim-majority countries. The two executive orders — one from the 1940s and the other from our own time — illustrate how constitutional violations can become acceptable in the name of national security. Today’s refusal to trust Muslims as citizens is based on the same argument historically made to support the incarceration of Japanese Americans.”

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet, www.tcdailyplanet.net, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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