David Griffith, a researcher collecting data on the experiences
of immigrants and refugees in rural communities from Southwest
Minnesota, Marshalltown, Iowa and across the South, and their
affects on those communities, discussed the study's preliminary
findings at a presentation at Southwest State University, Thursday
May 1, 2003, 4:30 PM in Social Science Room 230.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture research project, headed
by David Griffith, a professor of anthropology and senior scientist
at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C, and Ed Kissam,
a senior analyst for Aguirre International in California, was
funded by the department's Fund for Rural America. These social
scientists have focused their attention on the fourth great
wave of immigration into the United States over the past decade.
This migration has been characterized by the diffusion of new
immigrants into new geographical regions, away from traditional
destinations such as New York, Florida, Illinois, and California,
and their movement into new industries. Rural areas in particular
have seen an increase in workers moving into food processing
industries, construction, nursery work, and landscaping. At
the same time, the composition of the agricultural work force
has changed as a result of managed migration programs and immigration
from new sending regions in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa,
and Asia. This seminar addresses these issues in the context
of preliminary results from a study comparing several U.S. communities
in the Midwest and South, including Marshall and Southwest Minnesota
and Marshalltown, Iowa.
The team's goal is to come up with a list of best practices
for all rural communities in dealing with immigrants and refugees.
Some of what they want to know is how different agencies treat
immigrants and refugees; what these people experienced getting
to the U.S. and to the area; whether they have health care issues;
how they found housing; whether they study English as a second
language; whether they vote, and in what ways they are involved
in the community.