Immigrants reshape Hillsboro
The city finds itself a "petri dish" of racial and ethnic relations as a swelling Latino and Asian population puts a new face on the onetime farm community.
"We are a pretty good petri dish," says Hillsboro Police Chief Ron Louie. "This is a complicated community that struggles with its own identity and demographic change. Some see it as an invasion and others see it as an enrichment."
Nothing like a little crime to "enrich" our lives. Of course, no fishwrapper story on illegal aliens would be complete without the glowing profiles.
After years as a migrant farmworker, crossing back and forth from his home state of Oaxaca, Lopez settled in Hillsboro. He secured legal residency in 1987 through a one-time federal amnesty program.
He earns minimum wage at a Beaverton food processor. He speaks Mixteco, an Indian dialect common to southern Mexico, and a clipped Spanish -- but no English.
He got amnesty in 1987 and he still doesn't speak English. I just can't wait for Bush's amnesty.
Last summer, [Hillsboro Mayor] Hughes took heat from some residents for attending a conference hosted by the Mexican government to discuss issues Mexican nationals face abroad. And repeatedly, he has raised ire by emphasizing that the city's job is to serve all residents, whether they're in the United States legally or not.
The story focuses on race-baiting and absolutely ignores the issue: are these immigrants here legally? Do they move to Hillsboro because they want to be Americans or do they move to Hillsboro because they want to make it Little Mexico? Are the people moving in next door "Latino" or "criminal"?