Pressure To Involve The Government In Settling Immigrants
May 23, 2000
The nation's 31 million Hispanics are no longer confined to magnet cities such as Los Angeles and border states such as Texas and California. Over the past two decades, they have been moving into small towns from Arkansas to Nevada and North Carolina to Iowa.
They have reportedly been received with varying degrees of welcome. In many towns, their arrival has strained local governments trying to serve long-time residents, and now an influx of newcomers.
- In Detroit, where the Hispanic population has doubled over the past decade, the police department has had to struggle to find Spanish-speaking officers.
- In western North Carolina's Buncombe County, the Hispanic population boom has spawned a growing need for bilingual workers.
- The school district serving Las Vegas has been overwhelmed by 60,000 Hispanic students -- representing 31 percent of the student body -- half of whom don't speak English.
- Longtime residents of Siler City, N.C., blamed an influx of immigrants for job losses and higher housing costs.
Lobbying groups representing Hispanic immigrants have begun pushing for federal assistance to help them get settled.
Source: Sergio Bustos and Deborah Mathis (Gannett News Service), "Small Towns Shaped by Influx of Hispanics," USA Today, May 23, 2000.
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