BREWSTER, Wash. - There's one word that politicians almost always use when they talk about the U.S. immigration system. That word is “broken.” But what does that really mean? Residents of the small town of Brewster, Wash., know. For decades, immigrants have come from Mexico, often illegally, to work the surrounding apple and cherry orchards. Bewster, it turns out, is a microcosm of how the immigration debate is playing out.
MABTON, Wash. - Most American families have some kind of immigration lore -- think Ellis Island, the Oregon Trail and slave ships. At dinner tables across the Northwest, some Mexican-American families tell their own vivid tales. They regale each other with stories of relatives swimming to better opportunities across the Rio Grande or crossing the desert at night.
Yes, these crossings are illegal, but they also are part of a family’s history. If the U.S. Congress adopts comprehensive immigration reform this year, these types of border stories could begin to fade.
This week we are looking at why Latinos have so little clout in Northwest politics, even though they’re the region’s largest minority group. One reason: Latinos are a younger demographic. And younger people -- no matter what their ethnicity -- are much less likely to vote than older people. But one issue that’s energized many young Latinos is the DREAM Act. It would create a path to citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants. Anna King has our story.
In 1972, Raul Soto immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, expecting to work for only a few years before returning to his home country. Forty years later, the 69-year-old former fruit picker – like millions of other migrant workers – is growing old in America.