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July 1996 Volume 2 Number 3
Iowa -- July 11-13, 1996
Focus on the Midwestern States
Thursday, July 11, 1996 - Saturday, July 13, 1996
Gateway Holiday Inn
US 30 and Elwood Drive, ISU Center
Ames, IA 50014
tel-515-292-8600 or 1-800-Holiday
June 25, 1996
The purpose of this conference is to explore the evidence to support or disprove the hypothesis that:
"The United States risks re-creating rural poverty through immigration. This rural poverty may be even more difficult to extirpate; since it requires overcoming language and education barriers in an economy that penalizes with low earnings workers without education and skills."
This is a working conference; we expect the 40 to 45 participants to participate actively with researchers and local government officials to discuss immigration and integration developments in rural communities. A conference to discuss the policy implications of the community studies is planned for 1997 in Washington DC.
The presentations will each be about 20 minutes long, permitting time for discussion. Please note that not all of the speakers have been confirmed.
Wednesday, July 10, 1996
Arrivals. The ISU van will be marked with ISU, and it will depart from the Des Moines airport, outside the baggage claim area, at 6pm, 8pm, and 9:30pm.
Thursday, July 11, 1996
7AM Continental breakfast at the Holiday Inn
8:15AM Conference purposes: Philip Martin, UC-Davis and Michael Fix, The Urban Institute
8:30AM Immigration Patterns in the US and the Midwest
How is immigration changing the population of the rural Midwest?
Chair, Philip Martin, UC-Davis
US and Midwestern Immigration Patterns
Jeff Passel, Urban Institute
The Browning of the Midwest
Robert Aponte, Julian Samora Research Institute, Michigan State University
Discussants, Ed Taylor, UC-Davis; Peter Orazem, Iowa State University
10:30AM Immigrant or Integration Policies
What is US immigrant or integration policy, what should it be, and should allocation formulae, eligibility, and delivery systems be different for rural areas?
Chair, Ed Taylor, UC-Davis
Federal Immigrant Policy
Michael Fix, Urban Institute
Implications for the Rural Midwest
Philip Martin, University of California, Davis
11:45AM Lunch in the Lobby Bar and Grille at the Holiday Inn
1PM Immigration, Trade, and Meatpacking, Wally Huffman and John Miranowski, Iowa State University
2PM Iowa Community Studies, Chair, Cornelia Flora, Iowa State University
Lenox, IA: Nancy Naples, UC-Irvine
Storm Lake, IA:Mark Grey
, University of Northern Iowa
Marshalltown, Iowa: Antonio Ybarra-Rojas, Iowa State University
3:45PM Midwestern Community Studies, Chair, Will Rochin, Michigan State University
Garden City, KS: Janet Benson, Kansas State University
Holland, MI and Toledo, OH: Rene Rosenbaum, Michigan State University
Lexington, NE: Loudres Gouveia, University of Nebraska-Omaha
Pennsylvania Mushroom Industry: Victor Garcia, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
6:30PM Vans depart Holiday Inn for dinner at the Broiler, 6008 Lincoln Way,
Friday July 12, 1996
6AM Vans depart hotel for field Trip to Waterloo and Marshalltown, IA
8AM Breakfast with IBP managers at the Starlight Village, a Best Western motel/restauarnt about 10 minutes from the IBP plant at 214 Washington St,
9AM Tour of IBP plant, 501 N Elk Run Road, Waterloo(East edge of city). 319-236-2636
10:30AM Depart IBP for Marshalltown
11:15AM Tour of Swift/Monfort plant, 402 W 10th Ave, Marshalltown, Bary Carl, 515-752-3527
12:45PM Lunch at Ernesto's restaurant, 31 North First Ave, 515-753-0920
Father L.Paul Oudenkirk will introduce several local leaders, each of whom will discuss how immigration is affecting Marshalltown for 5 to 8 minutes.
We will eat at about 1:15pm
2:15PM Walking tour of Marshalltown, led by Father Paul Oudenkirk and Antonio Ybarra Rojas. Marshalltown is a city of about 25,000 that in 1990 had an estimated 250 Hispanics, and today has 2,000 to 4,000 Hispanics.
3:30PM Depart for Ames, or optional tour of a large hog raising facility
4:30/5:30PM Arrive at Holiday Inn in Ames
6:30PM Vans depart Holiday Inn for dinner at Hickory Park, 121 S. 16th St, tel 515-232-8940
Saturday July 13, 1996
7AM Continental breakfast at the Holiday Inn
8:30AM Western States' Community Studies, Chair, Philip Martin, UC-Davis
Immigration to Rural Utah Communities, Dawn Thilmany, Utah State
Immigration Issues in Rural Washington, Richard Carkner, WSU and Dawn Thilmany, Utah State
10:00AM Policy Implications of Community Studies, Chair, Michael Fix, Urban Institute
Iowa Lt Governor Joyce Corning
Immigration and the Changing Face of Rural America
Focus on the Midwestern States
Thursday, July 11, 1996 - Saturday, July 13, 1996
Summary Report of the Conference held at the Holiday Inn in
July 11-13, 1996
Philip Martin, J. Edward Taylor, and Michael Fix
July 22, 1996
Immigration Patterns and Integration Policies 3
Community Impacts 6
Next Steps 8
The žfaceÓ of rural America is changing, in part because of immigration from Latin America and Asia. In many small cities and towns in middle America, refugees arrived in the late 1970s and 1980s, and immigrants from Mexico and Central America began arriving in ever-larger numbers in late 1980s and 1990s.
We have held several changing face conferences in California to assess the prospects for integrating the immigrants who have arrived since 1980 to fill agricultural and farm-related jobs. Agriculture is a traditional port of entry for Mexican immigrants, but economic and social mobility for immigrant farm workers has in the past usually required geographic mobility--to get ahead, many rural residents moved to cities.
This was the first seminar outside California. One way to highlight the midwestern experience is to emphasize the similarities and differences between "Latinization" in CA and the žbrowningÓ of the midwest. There are three major points of contrast:
1. A major magnet attracting immigrants to rural Iowa is food processing including meatpacking, which offers year-round jobs that pay at least $6 to $7 per hour, or $12,000 to $18,000 per year, enough to support a family in the US. In many cases, the immigrants moving to fill jobs in midwestern meatpacking are not settled out migrant farm workers.
This means that there are fewer solo males, and more families, in meatpacking towns than in the farm worker towns that surround fields and orchards elsewhere in the US. Seasonal farm workers earn only half as much as meat packing workers--$5000 to $7000 per year.
The presence of families raises a number of issues --housing, schooling, health care. Unlike California, where settled Hispanic migrants often provide many services to newcomers, and where immigrants are often segregated in particular towns or parts of cities, immigrant meat packing workers in the midwest often obtain public and private services from non-Hispanic providers, making them more "visible" in the communities in which they live and work.
This visibility can lead to problems, as when law enforcement officials harass Hispanics, or lead to extra services, as when banks and newspapers add Spanish-speaking personnel to serve new customers. In Marshalltown, Iowa, for example, immigrant meat packing workers can and are buying homes for $30,000 to $50,000 with the help of bank loans; few seasonal farm workers can get loans to buy houses.
2. The Hispanics and Asians in midwestern meatpacking are not always immigrants, and they often work alongside US-born White and Black workers in meatpacking plants. In many workplaces, Latino immigrants are only 20 to 50 percent of the labor force, but everyone agrees that their presence has increased sharply over the past 10 years, and is likely to continue to increase in the 1990s.
The fact that some of the Latino workers are US-born, and that they often work alongside US-born White and Black workers in plants that have unions, means that work and family integration may evolve differently in the midwest. In California, immigrants typically had to move to cities to enjoy upward mobility, and they were slow to develop home-grown institutions such as the United Farm Workers union to help them to improve wages and working conditions in the fields. In the rural midwest, by contrast, there are non-immigrant workers who also have a keen interest in higher meatpacking wages and fringe benefits, making it more likely that existing unions etc will accommodate newcomers so that they do not have to form their own organizations.
3. Neither the industries that have and are attracting immigrants to the rural midwest, nor the communities that often provided subsidies to attract plants, planned for the immigration and integration of the minority and immigrant workers that they in some cases recruited to fill jobs. Indeed, some argue that programs that give employers wage subsidies for some workers during their first six months of employment, plus the meatpacking industryŪs policy of not offering fringe benefits to workers for the first six months, encourages worker turnover in a manner that minimizes labor costs and maximizes migration in a labor-intensive industry.
Meatpacking may turn out to be a mobile industry that moves into rural areas, changes the size and composition of the population in 25 to 50 midwestern towns, and then, in some cases, moves on, with perhaps pork moving to North Carolina, and beef to Mexico. In some cases, the plants were attracted to the rural midwest with the help of subsidies, rather than paying the impact fees that might be expected to be imposed on industries that generate such externalities.
Immigration Patterns and Integration Policies
The number of newly--arrived immigrants who have low levels of education, little or no English, and low US earnings is increasing, while federal support for poor people, and especially poor immigrants, is decreasing. This disjuncture between immigration flows and what is often termed žimmigrant policy,Ó in light of pending proposals to further reduce the access of immigrants to federal means-tested programs, raises questions about how well immigrants and perhaps their children will be integrated throughout the US.
Immigrants in the US are concentrated--over half live in particular sections or neighborhoods of six cities in six states. This concentration magnifies the effects of immigration. About eight percent of the US population is foreign-born, but 95 percent of all US residents live in places that have less than eight percent foreign-born residents.
Until the 1980s, immigrants roughly replicated the US-born population in the single-best predictor of earnings--years of education. Immigrants arriving since the 1980s, however, have a different distribution of years of schooling. When arrayed by years of education, immigrants are concentrated at the extremes of the distribution. In this way, immigration joins globalization and technological change as a factor that is adding people to the top and bottom of the income distribution, not the middle class.
The ten midwestern states had about 2.1 million foreign-born residents in the 1990 Census, including about 800,000 in the Chicago metro area. About three-fourths of the 156,000 Mexican immigrants who arrived in the midwestern US in the 1980s moved to Chicago. Chicago is to the midwest in immigration matters what Los Angeles is to CA--the home of most of the midwestŪs Hispanics and immigrants. Minnesota had 113,000 foreign-born residents in 1990, Kansas 63,000, Iowa 43,000, and Nebraska 28,000.
As in the rest of the US, most immigrants to the midwest go to cities--about 93 percent of the foreign-born residents in the US, but only 76 percent of all US residents, live in urban areas. Welfare rates are low in the rural midwestern states, and foreign-born residents are not disproportionate users of welfare.
There were are about 2 million Hispanics in the ten midwestern states, but many are US citizens who are moving to Iowa and Nebraska from border states such as Texas and California. Not all of these internal US migrants speak English, so there is a tendency to assume that all Hispanics are immigrants, and thus exaggerate the number of immigrants in some towns.
Illinois has about half of the Hispanics in the midwest, and most live in the Chicago area. Kansas had the most Hispanic residents of the meat packing states in 1992--about 100,000, followed by Minnesota with 62,000, Nebraska 42,000, and Iowa 37,000
The US meatpacking industry has experienced four major changes since World War II. First, there has been a change in dietary habits--the average per capita consumption of chicken increased to 70 pounds per person per year in 1995, while that of beef and pork fell to 67 and 52 pounds per person.
Second, there have been technological changes that permitted meat packing to move from urban consumers of meat toward farmer producers of cattle and hogs. Boxed beef, vacuum packing, and lower wages in rural areas were among the reasons why it became preferable to prepare retail packages of meat close to where animals are slaughtered.
Third, there were important changes in the labor force, especially after 1980, that led to more unskilled workers, women, and immigrants in the plants--women traditionally have played a more important role in poultry processing than meatpacking. Meatpacking has always been an industry in the US that offered relatively high wages to unskilled and non-English speaking workers, but employers in the past may have had more incentives to develop and retain a skilled meatpacking work force that lived in the town where the plant was located.
Unions represented most meatpacking workers, and they had a master agreement between 1950 and 1979 that "took wages out of competition" by requiring relatively uniform wages and benefits throughout the industry. The real hourly earnings of meatpacking workers peaked in 1979, when meatpacking workers earned almost $15 per hour in 1992 dollars, and almost 20 percent more than the average manufacturing worker; in 1994, by contrast, real earnings were less than $10 per hour.
Meatpacking earnings fell as unions and master agreements faded, and as skill levels fell due to more automation and technological changes. These changes may have made worker turnover less costly to employers, and turnover may also have been encouraged by two-tier wage systems that developed in the early 1980s and offered lower wages and fewer fringe benefits to newly-hired workers.
Fourth, both the raising and slaughter of animals became concentrated in fewer and larger operations. In some cases, meatpacking plants were located next to huge feedlots that were owned by the major packers. The cost of the animal remains the largest single part of the cost of meatpacking--cows cost slaugherhouses $0.60 to $0.70 per pound, and hogs $0.40 to $0.50 per pound, and "disassembling" these animals into meat products costs $0.05 to $0.10 per pound for beef, and $0.20 to $0.25 per pound for pork.
In 1990, Iowa had a labor force of 1.3 million, including 12,200 Hispanics and 10,100 Asians. Most Hispanics and Asians in Iowa were not employed in meatpacking--there were about 41,000 persons employed in food manufacturing in Iowa in 1990, including 2000 Hispanics and 1000 Asians. About 25,000 Iowa workers were employed in meat and poultry processing.
The 11 pork processing plants in Iowa--IBP operates 5 of them-- in 1996 paid $6 to $7 per hour to entry-level workers. Most pork processors restrict benefits such as health insurance to workers employed for at least six months. Most plants are hiring workers constantly to fill job vacancies --it is not unusual to issue 200 W-2 statements at the end of the year to keep 100 jobs filled.
In plants visited by seminar participants, five month old hogs weighing 250 pounds each were ždisassembledÓ at the rate of about 1200 per hour, or 16,000 to 18,000 per day on two eight hour shifts. The hogs are stunned, hung by one leg, stuck with a knife, and then carried through washing and singing machines to remove hair. Carcasses are then split, internal organs removed, and then various cuts of meat are removed as the carcass travels past workers armed with knives.
Meat is packed in vacuum bags, large paperboard bins, or other means for transit, and then chilled before being sent in refrigerated trucks to retail outlets--vacuum packing meat increases its shelf life from 3 days to 3 weeks. Some meat processors specialize in curing hams and preparing sausages.
Within the industry, meatpacking is sometimes known as a žkill and chillÓ industry.
About one production worker is required for each 10 hogs slaughtered on a daily basis, so a plant that slaughters 16,000 to 18,000 hogs daily has 1600 to 1800 production workers. Most of them wield one of a variety of knives, and most workers have jobs that require them to make a particular cut as a carcass moves by at the rate of about one every three seconds.
The job hierarchy in most plants is relatively flat, meaning that there are relatively few production jobs that pay twice the entry-level wage. This is one reason why especially young men may be prone to quit one plant for another in order to have an extended vacation, to get away from a particular supervisor, or to find better housing, thus contributing to high worker turnover.
Most rural areas in the midwest have unemployment rates under four percent, so meatpacking plants advertise in local media, some offer bounties of e.g., $200 for each new worker referred, and some have recruiters who recruit locally, and persons who travel to e.g., TX or CA, to seek workers. In many cases, the workers who arrive to go to work are "vulnerable workers" in midwestern towns.
IowaŪs manufacturing sector was restructured in the 1970s and 1980s. Many old-line companies that offered žblue collar eliteÓ jobs were sold or restructured, and local mainstays of the community were often replaced on the shop floor by žvulnerableÓ workers paid lower wages and sometimes recruited from outside the community. As one result, the žlocalÓ factory became something more alien or foreign in many communities--no longer a place where son followed father through the plant gates.
The Iowa state government and local communities have struggled with economic restructuring and the changing work force since the 1980s. On the one hand, many companies were persuaded to stay in or move to Iowa with tax breaks and other subsidies. However, when it became clear that many of the workers brought to Iowa to staff the plants were non-English speaking immigrants, Iowa sought to prevent at least the worst abuses associated with the recruitment of non-English speaking out-of-state workers by requiring employers to pay their return transportation if they quit soon after arrival under some circumstances.
In many Iowa communities, the arrival of immigrants and US-born Hispanics beginning the 1970s followed a three-step process that limited the ability of state and local governments to regulate newly-restructured industries such as meatpacking. First came solo men, including those who were recruited by employers in border regions or in Mexico. Then came families, either Asian refugee families who had settled in the midwest, or the families of the solo male Hispanics who learned that they could afford to bring their families to rural Iowa because wages were relatively high, and housing and other living costs were relatively low.
The third step was unauthorized immigrants, including friends and relatives of earlier settlers, who used social networks to get jobs with employers willing to hire immigrants with no English and little education. However, the arrival of more Hispanics, and more unauthorized immigrants, made many local residents wrongly believe that most Hispanic residents were recently-arrived illegal workers. In some cases, local law enforcement officers acted on this belief, and perhaps unlawfully detained or harassed Hispanics.
From the point of view of CA researchers familiar with seasonal farm workers, the striking difference between meatpacking and CA agriculture is that meatpacking offers year-round jobs and annual earnings that are high enough to support a family, so that the issues associated with the arrival of families--such as housing, schooling, health care-- become important community issues early in the migration process. In most cases, meatpackers, like farm employers in CA, are interested more in getting workers on the line than they are in ensuring that there is housing in the area for new arrivals, schools for their children, or bilingual police and other service personnel to deal with the newcomers.
A few profiles illustrated these differences. Storm Lake is a city of 8800 in 1990, and is home to two meat-processing plants that employ almost 2000 workers.
Storm Lake had three major waves of immigrants over the past 15 years to the IBP plant there--two types of Lao immigrants, Mexican Mennonites, and other Mexican immigrants. The Lao immigrants were recruited via private networks, and the Mexican Mennonites and the other Mexican immigrants were recruited with the active support of IBP.
The local community is divided over the influx of immigrants. About 24 percent of the children in K-12 classes are minorities, and the school system says that it must spend money on English as a Second Language and bilingual teachers, perhaps reducing services to local children. Pork processor IBP counters that it has a $36 million annual payroll in the area, and that schools might close if the plant closed.
Garden City, Kansas underwent similar demographic changes that were traced to meatpacking operations. The opening of one of the world's largest meat packing operations was associated first with the secondary migration of Southeast Asians into the area, and later Mexican immigrants. Some of the meat packing workers lived in mobile home parks that were expanded to accommodate them.
Utah provides some of the most striking examples of demographic and economic change. On the one hand, Utah has relatively rapid population growth, and the Mormon church is expanding fastest in Latin America, so that there may be more receptivity to hard working Mexican immigrants in Utah than in many other states. However, even in Utah, there are questions raised by the arrival of Limited English Proficient children in schools etc.
The operation/expansion of meatpacking in rural communities seem to generate externalities that were not planned for, and are now the subject of contention. Among the options that might be considered are local impact fees, such as those that CA developers must pay on new housing developments.
The "Changing Face" title of this project is meant to suggest that the demographics of rural America are changing rapidly, as Mexican, Central American, and Asian immigrants take jobs in agriculture and agriculture-related industries. The federal government spends over $600 million annually on farm worker services, and additional funds on rural development, but many of these programs remain rooted in the 1960s philosophy that the best solution for rural poverty is rural-urban migration.
This project will be extended in two directions. First, we will examine the policy recommendations outlined above in more depth with federal and state policy makers, with planned conferences in the Spring of 1997 in Sacramento, and in the Spring of 1998 in Washington DC. These conferences will address issues such as: How much awareness is there of the speed with which the demographics of rural America are changing? To what extent have policymakers thought about the need to revamp programs begun in the 1960s to help persons trapped in agriculture to deal with the integration of immigrants in the US?
Second, we plan to hold conferences in other areas of the US in which it appears that the composition of the farm and "near farm" labor forces began to change very rapidly in the 1980s. We plan to hold a conference/field trip in North Carolina in the Fall of 1997 that focuses especially on Black-Hispanic interactions in the labor force.
Conference Questions and Guidelines
This is a working conference; we expect the 45 participants to participate actively with researchers and local government officials to discuss developments in these communities and what might be done. A conference to discuss the policy implications of the rural community studies presented at this conference is planned for 1997 in Washington DC.
Community Studies Discussion Questions
1. What are the major issues--pluses and minuses--associated with high rates of immigration--adding one percent or more to the population every year via immigration, or doubling the population of the community when seasonal workers arrive? How would these issues be affected if the inflow of new immigrants were stopped or significantly reduced into your community, the aim of current border control efforts and immigration reform legislation?
2. There is no generally accepted definition of immigrant integration. However, when two or more distinct groups share a geographic area, two extremes delineate their possible interaction--integration or assimilation means eliminating boundaries between groups, encouraging convergence in language, values, earnings etc. Pluralism or multiculturalism, on the other hand, means encouraging the maintenance of cultural diversity, and tolerating or welcoming ethnic enclaves. These are sometimes referred to as the melting pot versus the salad bowl approaches to accommodating immigrants.
Which type of integration is occurring in your community/region? Why? What are the major factors affecting integration in this community/region, e.g., jobs, housing, schooling, governance? What public policies are most important in regulating the speed and extent of integration in your community/region, e.g., housing for families, jobs for adults, or education for children?
3. Many newly-arrived immigrants find jobs with the help of ethnic networks. Do immigrant networks in rural communities confine immigrants to low-wage jobs, or give them a hand up the job ladder? Some have speculated that rural communities are distinguished from immigrant cities such as Los Angeles--where immigrants are concentrated at the top and the bottom of the skill and earnings distribution--because, in rural areas, the top or the role models are missing--there is a pyramid-shaped distribution of skills and earnings, i.e., a wide base of low-skill people and jobs that tapers off abruptly. Is this true in your community/region?
4. Federal and state governments are considering decentralization and block grants--giving less assistance to communities, but allowing local leaders to decide how to spend assistance funds. How would decentralization and block grants--plus new restrictions on the eligibility of legal and unauthorized immigrants for public benefits--affect immigration patterns in your community/region?
1. Are there any particular communities/regions or public or private policies that stand out in promoting successful integration, or in impeding immigrant integration? What are the communities that currently have a majority of foreign-born residents, and continue to grow by one to five percent per year via immigration, likely to look like in 10 years if current trends continue, i.e., are current immigration patterns sustainable?
2. What seems to be the most variable affecting the success of integration--number of immigrants, characteristics of migrants, situation and attitudes of the community in which they settle, or some combination of these? What does this variable suggest about prioritizing government efforts to accelerate integration in immigrant communities in agricultural areas--should housing, jobs, education, crime etc.-- be tackled first, and why?
3. Federal and state governments are considering decentralization and block grants--giving less assistance to communities, but allowing local leaders to decide how to spend assistance funds. How would decentralization and block grants--plus new restrictions on the eligibility of legal and unauthorized immigrants for public benefits--affect immigration patterns in your community/region?
July 1996 Volume 2 Number 3
July 1996 Volume 2 Number 3