Hispanic Workers Changing Face Of Dixie

Michael Hedges, Houston Chronicle, July 27

WASHINGTON—Immigrants from Mexico and Central America have moved into the small towns of Dixie faster than in any other region of the country, according to a new study.

The Pew Hispanic Research Center documented the extent to which the foreign-born Hispanics chased jobs in areas without well-established infrastructures for dealing with new arrivals as they bypass states like Texas and California.

The report focused on North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas, which had relatively small Latino populations before 1990 but saw them at least triple by 2000.

“The growth in the Latino population was even more dramatic at the county level, exceeding 1,000 percent in some counties and 500 percent in many others,” the study said.

“For now, employers in the region are happy to have a dependable source of low-cost labor available to them,” the researchers wrote, noting that the first wave of immigrants in the Southeast tended to be young, unmarried males.

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