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by Gabino Zavala, Justice and Peace Coordinator
There are 55 million Latinos in the United States. 11 to 13 Million are estimated to be undocumented. In the most recent census in California, Latinos our now in the majority as the demographic landscape changes in the United States. Latinos are not only making a difference in California, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah which were territories that were once a part of Mexico. They are a growing force in the political landscape, as politicians running for the presidency know that they need the Latino vote to be elected. They are also changing the reality in our heartland. In many rural towns in Middle America the Caucasian population is declining. Latinos, documented as well as undocumented, are revitalizing these rural towns. In the film Latino: the Changing Face of America we can see this recent history of immigration in our country and the effect that it is having in different regions. The film focuses on the town of Ottumwa in Iowa as a welcoming place for immigrants. Fr. Jim Betzen and other citizens of Ottumwa are interviewed. They mention that the labor shed in the town was not large enough as their population declined and aged. The new immigrants have helped the economy of their small town and revitalized the community. At first there was a lot of fear of how the new immigrants might change their town. They soon came to see that the immigrants hold the same beliefs that they do: Church, family and work.
The video below has been linked with the permission of it’s creator.
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