Nebraska. A state heavily impacted by a growing Latino population. We start with a two-part special report on Fremont, where a one of a kind anti-immigration housing ordinance is causing strife among neighbors. We look at the role of immigrant workers on the Nebraska economy, and debut our By the Numbers segment with award-winning journalist Guy Garcia. We meet teens legally allowed to be in the US but blocked from driving by the state, and meet two great heartland characters: an Irish-American woman teaching English to new Latino arrivals and a Nebraska-born Chicano organizer.
Photo by Flickr user Rich
3 thoughts on “#1423 – Heartland”
I listened to part of your story yesterday on the radio and I want to point out one glaring and wrong yet a small part of your story. You stated in the 1970’s that the meat packing industry heavily recruited Latinos because it had a labor shortage. That statement is utterly false There never was a labor shortage, it was an attempt by the industry to stop and destroy unions to boost their profit at the expense of workers. My family was poor, in fact they worked in the poultry processing factories for low wages, they would have loved to get one of those higher paying union jobs in the meat packing industry, so there was no shortage of applicants or skill set. Even the poultry industry with terrible wages and unsafe working conditions drove down wages by bringing in illegals under the table .
I am not against immigration. I am against it’s misuse to exploit people, to put one group against another. It was the packing industry that did this, it exploited both ends for it’s own profits. Sure it is terrible that ICE rounded up a bunch of illegals working in the factory before Christmas time, but it was the industry that hired them, driving down wages and exploiting them. No one benefits from low wages, illegal employment and exploitation, except the 1% at the top. We need more immigration that is legal, safe and not exploitable.
I’ve taught school in Fremont, NE for 29+ years now. I did not listen to your entire broadcast, but if you want to be taken seriously, you should have headlines that are accurate. Fremont, Nebraska: ILLEGAL Immigrants Not Welcome…would be a much more accurate headline that would show journalistic balance and truth. Are there some locals who would be against any immigration? Sure. Just as there would be in probably any town in the U.S. (maybe the world). But this ordinance was strictly written to combat illegal immigration and say nothing about legal immigration whatsoever, and was designed to enforce laws that the current Administration is not enforcing. My primary interest here is as a social studies teacher who follows the issues and teaches them showing all sides to my students. I also taught journalism for nine years and am disappointed any time I see tabloid-type/yellow journalism headlines which do not accurately represent the truth. For what it’s worth, while I teach in Fremont, I do not live there so could not vote on the ordinance. And my treatment of students in my classes and sports is the same regardless of color, gender, or legal status. But your reporting will be taken more seriously if you do so accurately from the start and that does not include a race-baiting headline which is patently untrue.