Everyone has a story. Workers and business owners tell their stories in this deep dive by Sahan Journal. Latino Minnesotans are diverse, and so were their experiences during the pandemic. For a variety of reasons, many Latino businesses were unable to access PPP loans. Undocumented Minnesotans were hit hardest, as they could not receive either unemployment or stimulus payments.
“Latino Minnesotans make up about 6 percent of the state’s population: 314,000 people, including 209,000 of working age (that is,16 and older). They are a diverse ethnic group. Some were born in the U.S., while others were born in Central or South America. Mexican Americans make up the largest share—or 214,000 people—followed by Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Ecuadorians.
“In terms of work, Latino Minnesotans are diverse, too. Latinos work across all industries in Minnesota. But compared to the state’s overall population, they are more likely to work in sectors that include construction and restaurants.
“When COVID-19 hit last spring, unemployment skyrocketed in the restaurant industry, as establishments were forced to close dining rooms and move to takeout-only. …
“Construction—a category that includes building construction, specialty contractors and civil engineering construction—fared better….
“Despite layoffs hitting some Latino-reliant industries, Minnesota’s Latino population remained in the labor force at higher rates than white or Black Minnesotans.”
The New York Times offers stories of a handful of migrants waiting on the Mexican side of the border. Rosa Arévalo is one of those migrants. (New York Times)
“Rosa Arévalo said she decided to travel to the United States against the advice of relatives to protect her daughter, Kendra. Back in Guatemala, Ms. Arévalo had struggled to make a living selling tamales and clothes on the streets of her small town. Her sister in Maryland sent money to help make ends meet, but the transfers dried up in the pandemic.
“Life became even harder when her partner left her after getting into a money dispute with a local gang. Soon, gang emissaries came knocking on Ms. Arévalo’s door to collect the debt. They threatened to kill her daughter if she didn’t pay.
“’My sister told me not to come, because life is also difficult there’ in America, Ms. Arévalo said. ‘But I had to come. I couldn’t risk my daughter’s life.’”
New Jersey’s budget bill includes $3 million to provide legal representation for unaccompanied minors. (New Jersey Spotlight)
“‘Most children whom the government is trying to deport from New Jersey are unrepresented,’’ said Emily Chertoff, executive director of the New Jersey Consortium for Immigrant Children, a statewide coalition of legal providers, healthcare providers and community-based organizations that have pushed for the state funds. ‘No one should go to immigration court alone, and it is simply inhumane to demand this of children,’ she added.
“Close to 15,000 unaccompanied children have come to New Jersey since 2014, when an influx of youngsters, mostly from Central America, crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, some fleeing violence. Since the start of the federal government’s fiscal year in October through April of this year, 1,470 of those children have been released to a parent or relative in the Garden State, according to figures from the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. New Jersey is fifth among states, following Texas, Florida, California and New York in the number of unaccompanied children it has received this fiscal year. Lawmakers voted Thursday on a budget that included the $3 million.”