Listen to my interview with KBIA's Harvest Public Media reporter Abbie Fentress Swanson.
While doing research for the Harvest Public Media series “In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse,” reporters Abbie Fentress Swanson and Peggy Lowe called roughly two dozen institutions to get statistics about the children of immigrant and refugee workers at American meatpacking plants. Swanson said she called federal agencies, researchers, unions, and immigration advocacy groups. But she couldn't find anyone who kept data on how many of these children live in the U.S., not to mention their health, education or economic status.
“They’re not on anyone’s radar,” Swanson said. “They’re not being tracked or followed, they’re kind of an invisible population in this country.”
In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse, part 1: Attracted to stable jobs in the meatpacking industry, communities of immigrants are springing up across rural America. Many small, rural towns, however, struggle to provide much more than instruction.
It’s almost 9 a.m., and Noel Primary School teacher Erin McPherson is helping a group of Spanish-speaking students complete English language exercises. But it’s tough going.
Columbia Public Schools is implementing a new program at Douglass High School designed to help at risk students graduate with the skills they need to join the workforce. It’s called Douglas Academy, and is catered to older students who enter the school system late and would be left behind by the traditional path to graduation.
Immigrant advocacy groups in Missouri say that while they are pleased the US Supreme Court struck down most of a controversial Arizona immigration policy, they remain concerned about a provision that had the support of the justices.
The five-to-three ruling on Monday allowed Arizona law enforcement officials to check the papers of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. Opponents say that will lead to biased policing.
Sioux County, in northwest Iowa, is known for its Dutch pastries. The landscape is dotted with Lutheran and reform churches. But today, Catholic churches and tortillerias are creeping into the landscape — signs of the new residents joining this vibrant community.
In Sioux County, as in a scattering of communities across the Midwest, Hispanic immigrants are working in meat processing plants, dairies, egg-laying facilities and hog barns. In fact, the majority of U.S. farm laborers today were born outside the U.S.