Monday, August 20, 2007

An interesting AP story about the way the meatpacking industry is changing the social/economic dynamic of a number of small towns in the Midwest; as meatpacking plants moved out of the cities and into smaller towns, they created a demand for workers in those areas--and found immigrants ("legal" and "undocumented") to fill those jobs. These changes can bring their own tensions as well as opportunities. This story offers a striking description of Cactus, Texas (pop. 2500 in 2000):
It's a hard life. In Cactus, the population is more than 90 percent Latino. There are no doctors or banks. Most plant workers deal only in cash, making them easy targets for theft. As much as 70 percent of offenses in town relate to alcohol use, especially on weekend nights when cars cruise up and down the main drag for hours.