Why Middle America needs immigrants
Posted on September 7, 2016
Ahead of Presidential polls in America, many of its citizens in the rural communities of the economically less developed regions seem to be apprehensive about immigration. But they are ignorant of the fact that immigrants can improve their quality of life, as sociologists, Daniel T. Lichter, Maria J. Kefalas and Patrick J. Carr wrote in a 2012 paper.
Jstor Daily says that in many US communities outside of top metropolitan areas, educated youngsters had moved out in search of greener pastures elsewhere. As a result, fewer people have to bear the burden of paying taxes and holding up local businesses. Most of the people who remain here are retirees for whom health care is necessary, but there is hardly anything attracting physicians and paramedics to stay back there.
While young Americans migrate to towns, it is more often than not immigrants who plug the work shortages in the agrarian sector and meat processing in rural areas. Most of the growth that is said to have happened in the non-metropolitan regions from the beginning of the millennium is said to have been because of the contribution of Hispanics.
They cite the example of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, a town with a population of around 25,000, where the number of Hispanics increased from five percent of the population in 2000 to 37 percent in 2010. The immigrants aided the improvement of a part of the town and kept the local schools running.
The authors are of the view that instead of fighting the demographic change, local leaders came together to form a group to lay out an elaborate plan for the area. Even as the group entirely comprised white Americans, it worked to collect information from the migrants. Later, the churches, schools and social service organisations of the town put in efforts to help out the immigrants. They also went on so far as to offer English as Second Language programs and aided migrant workers’ children. This lead to a major change in the area, as gradually many Hispanics who prospered started opening new businesses in the town where business was otherwise lacklustre.
The authors also cite the example of St. James, Minnesota, which also saw its fortunes turn around for the better in a similar way.
They hope that these studies would help people in rural America in non-metro areas to stand up and take notice of how immigration can change their life for the better.
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