Demand for housing to new immigrants helped the local First State Bank Southwest weather the economic downturn in 2008-2010, according to its bank president, who added that immigration is the “next opportunity for us as rural communities to revitalize rural America.” 

There are roughly 60 languages spoken among the more than 2,200 workers at the local pork processing plant. The 2010 U.S. Census reported Worthington’s nearly 13,000 population includes 35 percent Latino, nearly 9 percent Asian, 5.5 percent African American, and more than 20 percent “other.” 

Many rural towns with aging communities have been losing young residents. In Worthington, a decades-long decline began in the 1990s, but has been strengthened by immigrants who now own a majority of businesses. Worthington celebrates its diverse culture with an annual International Festival. 

The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, who spoke in Worthington, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last year, saying that immigration to the U.S. is low and the economy cannot achieve optimal growth without increasing its workforce. In 1920, roughly one in five Minnesotans was foreign born compared to one in 12 in 2016. 

Nearly half of all foreign-born Minnesotans are naturalized citizens. Legal status is required for business owners to qualify for financing. 

Source: “Welcomed in Worthington: Immigrant Success Stories Abound in Community,”  Nov. 28, 2018, dglobe.com 


National details from a round-up article in "The Conversation"

  • Unlawful border crossings have actually declined since 2014, when 569,236 people — most of them Central American — were detained at the southern border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Last year, 521,090 migrants were caught trying to enter the country unlawfully.
  • Immigrants seeking asylum are arriving at the U.S. southwest border because of crime, violence, and insecurity in Central America — not because they want to perpetuate that instability in the U.S. With 60 murders per 100,000 people in 2017, El Salvador was the deadliest place in the world that was not at war. Almost 4,000 people were killed there in 2017. That year New York City, which has a much larger population, saw 292 killings.
  • The murder of youth in the region are now more than 20 per 100,000 – four times the global average. "Those stunning statistics explain why so many children and families keep arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, despite harsh deterrence."
  • More than 75 percent of asylum claims filed by Salvadorans, Hondurans and Guatemalans are denied.
  • "In 'creating or exacerbating threats they seek to protect ordinary people against,' leaders can fabricate a sense of urgency that justifies extreme measures. Governments often 'downplay, inflate, or even fabricate perceived threats to increase their electoral and political support.'"“Numerous studies show that immigrants actually commit crime at a lower rate than native-born Americans. Large cities with substantial immigrant populations have lower crime rates, on average, than those with minimal immigrant populations.”
  • An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. have become vital to key U.S. industries, says Mary Jo Dudley, director of the Cornell Farmworker Program at Cornell University. Undocumented immigrants make up more than half of the nation’s farmworkers and 15 percent of construction laborers.