The Hormel meatpacking strike that tore apart Austin in the '80s, eventually transformed the demographics of the southeastern Minnesota town.
After the Hormel strike, immigrant workers moved to Austin for the meatpacking jobs. Austin is struggling with its own identity as a place that is now home to a growing Latino population.
Immigrant workers continue to come to Austin seeking a better life. But the community is rife with tensions over cultural collisions and illegal immigrantion.
Jorge Pozos owns a popular taco truck in Austin. He’s watched communities and cultures collide in other Midwest cities, but says the process of mutual accommodation is not impossible.
This month marks the 25th anniversary of the Hormel labor strike that tore apart the town of Austin. Read the story »
"I never said I was going to have an effort to kick people out. I said I was going to do whatever is best for Austin."
"You live thinking about what could happen to you, or what could happen to someone in your family."
"You don't have as many migrant workers coming to this area. They're coming to permanently stay here. "
"The elderly population, I don't think they realize they need these younger families."
"Is it right that somebody is here illegally? I don't know. But is it right how we're enforcing it, too?"
"They had a wing ding here for Cinco de Mayo and there wasn't one damn word published about Syttende Mai yesterday for the Norwegians."
MPR’s Elizabeth Baier reports on the changing demographics in southeastern Minnesota. She has focused on how small-town nostalgia plays out when big, global issues come to town. Her interest in rural immigration inspired “Austin at a Crossroads.”
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