BY MIRIAM JORDAN
(Another perspective on immigration... This may turn out to be a good thing. Note remarks about safe neighborhoods.)
OTTUMWA, Iowa—José Rodas moved to this blue-collar town on the Des Moines River in 2001 to take a job at the Cargill pork plant, after more than a decade eking out an existence in California and Nevada.
Within a year, the Guatemalan immigrant had saved enough money to buy a house for his family. Last March, he opened the town's first tortilla factory.
"It's much better here than in California," says Mr. Rodas, who works mornings at his "Tortilleria Los Twins" and the late shift at the Cargill plant. "There's lots of work, it's tranquilo and the cost of living ...
The "Latino Diaspora" is playing a key role in revitalizing small-town America once plagued with a shrinking tax base and dim prospects for economic growth.
Since the 1990s, Latinos have flocked to places like Dalton, Ga., to work in the carpet mills, and to the Piedmont section of North Carolina to work in furniture manufacturing. Many Hispanics work in the hotels and golf courses of Hilton Head, S.C. Some analysts believe the influx could eventually tip more traditionally Republican Southern states into the Democratic column.
The big Hispanic movement to Midwestern small towns has been more recent. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population in the Midwest swelled 49%, more than 12 times the 4% overall population growth there, according to the census.
I love small towns and have been disappointed to see so many shrinking over the past 15 years. This development may prove positive..........