Immigration Destination: Garden City, Kansas Over L.A.?
Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, New York, and Miami are no longer the immigration points for Hispanics and Latinos coming to the United States. Kansas State University recently reported new patterns have developed. Matthew Sanderson, associate professor of sociology at Kansas State University, is studying why rural areas, particularly southwest Kansas, have experienced large increases in Hispanic immigration.
Sanderson said his goal is to get, “a more detailed understanding of immigration and its relationship to these rural communities."
Sanderson found immigrants are helping to stabilize rural populations, which are typically in decline, as well as filling a labor demand in industry. He has also discovered while immigrants desire to stay in their country of origin, their longing for a better life spurs them to move. Once relocated, they do better financially, but socially, simply live as a separate community.
Sanderson said the results of his research will be shared with Garden City’s cultural relations board, which includes representation from the Hispanic, Latino, Somali, and Muslim communities. The board intends to use the research to enhance integration efforts. He says Garden City is considered a model for many new rural destinations.