Hispanic immigrants strain resources


Bill Radke: Yesterday, we told you about a study of rural towns that have seen a big influx of undocumented Latino laborers. And it turned out a lot of the common stereotypes about these immigrants were false. But there were some exceptions. Marketplace's Jeff Tyler takes us to Warsaw, North Carolina.

Jeff Tyler: You can see the changing demographics in the faces of school children. Traditionally, most of the students at Warsaw Elementary School have been black or white. These days, there are more kids from Mexico and other Latin American countries.

Most are presumed to be in the country illegally. In fact, Hispanics make up about 20 percent of the population in Duplin county -- that's almost three times the average in other parts of North Carolina. And the flood of new folks has put a strain on some local services.

Win Batten is mayor of Warsaw:

Win Batten: We have had some overcrowding in some of our schools because of the influx of Hispanic and Latino workers.

A recent study looked at the economic impact of Hispanic immigrants moving into small rural communities. The study found that poverty and unemployment rates actually fell when Hispanics came to town. But the new immigrants did create new expenses for rural schools.

Study co-author Martha Crowley with North Carolina State University says schools face a challenge with kids who can't speak English.

Martha Crowley: The schools are required to provide bilingual materials, bilingual information to go out to parents, English-as-a-second-language programs that they, in other circumstances, would not need to provide or pay for.

A similar kind of financial pressure has been placed on rural hospitals. Duplin General Hospital doesn't track the legal status of its patients. But it has seen an increase in Hispanics without insurance. And they constitute a majority of patients receiving some hospital services. Like delivering babies.

Harvey Case: We had 532 deliveries -- 56 percent of those deliveries were Latino.

That's Harvey Case, the president of Duplin General Hospital. He says translators had to be hired to help those who speak only Spanish.

Case: Just like a lot of rural hospitals, our hospital is losing money. And any time you get a population that has a negative impact on the operating margin, it just creates a real challenge for us.

It's a challenge shared by rural schools and hospitals around the country.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.
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What is the full name or link to the study you mention in your article? I would like to see if for myself. . .

I'm disgusted by the way this story is presented. To start, by saying "Latino" you are encompassing generations of Americans which live here for many years many of us born here. The people on this story are not legal and are recent immigrants which mainly cross the border illegally. Not all Latinos are the same and the category you are implying in this story are not Latinos but illegal workers. For example if some illegal Haitian immigrants cause similar problems would you name the story "Rural Blacks..." ?
there is a big difference between illegal immigrants and legal naturalized immigrants.
Secondly, why is this emphasis only on the actual workers? could this be called "hiring of illegal workers challenge...", if people stop hiring illegals they wont go there and prob stop crossing the border illegally.

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