Using oral history and archival records, Hoosier Latinos: A Century of Struggle, Service, and Success recognizes the impressive lineage of Latinos in Indiana across time and space. Since the 1800’s Latino residents comingled with the English and German families, Irish workers, and freed Blacks who made Indiana home. The book explores how Latino Hoosiers navigated home and belonging in the Midwest from Northwest Indiana to Indianapolis and south to Evansville.
A person is Hispanic if s/he identifies him/herself as Hispanic. The most recent Census Bureau data (2021) reveal about 494,000 Hispanic persons living in Indiana. That’s just 0.8% of the nation’s Hispanic population, ranking this state 21st among the 50 states.
When you talk about Hispanics in Indiana, who are you talking about? These Hoosiers didn’t just arrive in the U.S. Most (72%) were born in America.
Tobacco-picking is is often done by migrant Latino workers, both H-2A and undocumented. They can face abuse and exploitation from when they are recruited in Mexico, before they even set foot on US soil. But they are essential to the economic stability of North Carolina, providing a steady supply of labour for agricultural jobs that can’t be filled by Americans.
Tobacco is a labor-intensive crop. It begins life in a greenhouse before being transplanted into the soil. It grows to a few feet tall and you often start by only picking the leaves at the base of the stem, which has to be done by hand. The early-morning dew makes it give off a greasy chemical smell and the tar slowly turns your gloves black. The nicotine in tobacco keeps smokers hooked, but for workers in the fields who are exposed to nicotine day in, day out, it can cause “green tobacco sickness”—a condition that leads to headaches, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. A day off is a welcome respite.
“This kind of warm and fuzzy idea that the United States welcomes people from all over the world… that’s just a small part of a larger story and certainly glosses over the many variations,” Wu said.
Wu, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, recalled growing up in Indianapolis with a small group of second-generation Asian Americans, the vast majority of whom have left Indiana because they felt unwelcome or disagreed with the state’s conservative politics.
What began as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, transformed into a 30-day period of celebrating Hispanic communities and achievements.
In 1987, California Rep. Esteban Torres proposed a bill to expand the week-long celebration to a whole month.
“We want the public to know that we share a legacy with the rest of the country, a legacy that includes artists, writers, Olympic champions, and leaders in business, government, cinema, and science,” Torres said in his remarks about the bill.
A notable example, in May 2011, was Indiana Senate Bill 590, which granted police officers permission to ask for proof of legal status under “reasonable suspicion,” according to LegiScan, a national data service. According to an article published by Indiana Public Media, the bill sponsor, Republican Sen. Mike Delph, who was in office from 2005 to 2018, said the bill was inspired by already-existing standards of the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I believe, to most people in Indiana, if you cannot speak the English language and you’re in your 20s, 30s or 40s, you’re probably not lawfully in the country,” Delph said, per the 2011 article.
Donald Trump’s immigration policies were harmful to America’s long-term economic future. That becomes clearer as one compares the Trump administration’s actions to the projected increase in the number of immigrants under recently introduced immigration legislation. The U.S. Citizenship Act, developed by the Biden administration, would aid long-term economic growth by increasing the number of legal immigrants by 28%. In contrast, Trump administration policies would have cut legal immigration in half. The immigration policy path America chooses in the long-term will make a significant impact on economic growth and future labor force growth, of which immigrants are a vital part.
Finding and retaining talent is job No. 1 for the Indiana tech workforce, but the traditional education path is working for only a small %age of Indiana students and employers. Indiana must resolve its issues of access, opportunity and equity if it is to develop the tech workforce that companies must have in the coming years.
Modernizing our educational pathways will be difficult, and it won’t be helped by additional factors discussed earlier on TechPoint Index like the pandemic-induced Great Resignation, the wave of Baby Boomer retirements, and a poorly timed college enrollment cliff that alone were creating a perfect storm of tech talent supply and demand challenges. Our recent research with Fourth Economy and credible economic indicators, clearly show us an Indiana tech talent imperative: We must inclusively grow and develop the state’s tech workforce to 230,0000 workers by 2030.
Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety (Tuesday, March 15, 2022)
First, many members of the public mistakenly believe that our current laws permit anyone to immigrate legally to the United States as long as they don’t have a criminal background or other negative baggage and are willing to wait their turn in line. But as members of this subcommittee are well aware, our laws take the opposite approach. Being free of such disqualifying characteristics is not enough. To be admitted as a lawful permanent resident (LPR), a person must also affirmatively qualify under one of several specific categories created by Congress. The main categories are those seeking unification with specified family members who are U.S. citizens or LPRs, those whose occupational skills are needed by U.S. employers, those who hail from countries that in the past five years have sent relatively few immigrants to the United States, and refugees. A person who doesn’t fall within any of those four categories (or a handful of much smaller miscellaneous categories) cannot lawfully immigrate to the United States.
Second, the Immigration and Nationality Act contains more than 20 pages laying out the grounds on which otherwise qualified intending immigrants are ineligible. These inadmissibility grounds generally relate to criminality, national security, communicable diseases, likelihood of becoming a public charge, protection of the U.S. labor force, and the integrity of the immigration system itself.
Third, with some important exceptions, there are annual numerical limits on the admission of qualified immigrants. Those limits are of two kinds. There are annual numerical ceilings for eachcategory (and many subcategories) of immigrants – family immigration, employment immigration, etc. Within each of those categories, there are additional annual limits on how many immigrants may be admitted from a single country. In the past three decades Congress has enacted several laws concerned principally with immigration enforcement. Not since the Immigration Act of 1990, however, has Congress taken any major action to update our nation’s policies on legal immigration. In the intervening decades, much has changed, and there is now ample reason to revisit the system that governs the lawful admission of immigrants to the United States.
This NYT article, March 7, 2021, highlights the plight of Cristina Morales, a T.P.S. holder, and her daughter, Crista, who are the lead plaintiffs in the case seeking to prevent the U.S. government from terminating the program for Salvadorans. Their earlier Lawsuit Prevented 400,000 Deportations.
Now It’s Biden’s Call. Trump tried to end a 30-year program that shielded migrants, many fleeing conditions that U.S. foreign policy helped foster. What does America owe them?
This excellent article, in English and Spanish, shows the origins of this program and the attempts by the Trump political operatives to ignore the State Department advisors on this program, and terminate this program.
Here is the web site. There is also an audio recording available on this site.
Many Americans have never heard of this humanitarian immigration program.
Congress created Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the Immigration Act of 1990. It is a temporary immigration status provided to nationals of specifically designated countries that are confronting an ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. It provides a work permit and stay of deportation to foreign nationals from those countries who are in the United States at the time the U.S. government makes the designation. There were approximately 411,000 TPS recipients residing in the United States as of October 2020.