Nov 27, 2011

Immigration Reality: Florida County's Mexican-Americans Share Same Values as White Community

A close up look at the Mexican immigrant community in Polk County, Florida. "In many ways, there are no differences between Polk County's Mexican communities and its white communities. They share appreciation for hard work, devotion to their religions, and allegiance to their families.

But the differences — language, culture and the hot-button political issue of the day, illegal immigration — cause a sharp division. Polk's Mexican community is divided mostly between two groups: The larger number are migrant workers, most here illegally, who pick citrus, strawberries, tomatoes and other local crops from fall to spring, then move north for other harvest work. The smaller population of permanent, legal residents own businesses and work in blue- and white-collar jobs. Many in the latter group are second- and third-generation Mexican-Americans whose ancestors came initially as farm laborers.

... Mexicans make up the largest segment of Polk's rapidly rising Hispanic community, which numbered 106,532 people, or almost 18 percent of the county's 602,095 residents counted by the 2010 U.S. Census. That represented a 132 percent increase in just 10 years." read more

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