Friday, April 29, 2005

The Ordeal of Unchecked Immigration in Wausau, WI

I read this article a while ago, when the reference to the town of Wausau, WI caught my eye. Though I'm in Texas now, and fondly like to say "I wasn't born in Texas, but got here as fast as I could", I was a small-town girl from the green rolling hills of Wisconsin.

I actually spent a lot of time in Wausau after my first son was born and thought, "What kind of immigration problems could rural Wausau possibly have?" I confess I was a little skeptical before reading the article, especially considering the horrendous problems Texas is suffering due to illegal immingration! But I've read it thoroughly and believe it is a compelling look into how unchecked immigration is impacting a small, close-knit community in Wisconsin.

The immigrants that have thronged to Wausau are the Hmong. This article is VERY objective and there are NO undertones of prejudice, racism, or anything else objectionable. It is simply a very frank recounting of the origination of the problems, and the current state of the town. In fact, much of the blame lies on the shoulders of the U.S. resettlement and immigration "experts" who never warned the residents of the future impact on their town; AND on the community leaders who plunged ahead into hapahzard but well-intentioned programs with little thought of the long-term consequences, and zero planning. Understandably, little was known then how today would turn out, but now they have no options and are trapped by their own good intentions. It is sad, but also stands as a wake-up call for the rest of us who value our American communities. Because they are fast disappaering - just like in Wausau...

So very, very interesting.
I do hope that you'll read it to the end - it is well worth it.

The Ordeal of Immigration In Wausau

by Roy Beck
Executive Director of

Originally published in The Atlantic Monthly, April 1994