Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Nat'l Rags Profile Immigrant Impact

First, the LATimes profiles Hazelton, PA
Standing outside City Hall in the gathering dark, Norman Tarantino felt, for once, that he was lucky to live in Hazleton.

Most of his friends had moved away, over the years, convinced that the old coal city's best days were behind it. But as of Thursday night, Tarantino said, Hazleton once again has something to be proud of: It is the most hostile environment in America for illegal immigrants.
That article is dripping with stories of racial unrest. I get alot of heat for throwing the R card around when discussing immigration, but until I see national guard troops deployed and minutemen vigilantes building razor wired walls along the border with Canada, I stand by position.

Next, the Washington Post takes its readership to Dalton, GA in what is described as a "U.S. Border Town, 1,200 Miles From the Border"
The mass migration of Latinos to this corner of northwest Georgia known as the carpet capital of the world has changed the character of everything from factory floors to schools to superstores. On this night, Wal-Mart's ubiquitous TV monitors alternately promoted arroz and rice, aparatos and electronics.


And then there was the longest economic expansion in American history. As buildings rose and homes kept getting bigger, Americans carpeted almost a billion more square yards of floor in 2004 than in 1994, a 50 percent increase. With more than three-quarters of America's carpets made in and around Dalton, a shrinking workforce and 10,000 jobs to fill in a decade, the region was in the grip of a labor vacuum.

And immigration adores a vacuum. Today 40 percent of Dalton, 61 percent of its public school students and half of this region's carpet factory workers are Latino.

I encourage you to take the time to read both articles to get a pulse on where the corporate media stands on the issue. What strikes me is the highlighting of the divisions between the immigrant/Latino communities and their counterparts wherever they happen to find themselves.

Perhaps its different down here, since the roots of the area are more mestizo than anything else, but there is an integration of culture that is a stark contrast to the profiles offered in those two reads.

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