Editor’s Note - Five years ago, a U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service raid marked the turning point for the tiny California farming town of Greenfield. The surprise deportation of more than 40 indigenous Mexican immigrants forced the mostly Latino community to recognize its most invisible workers. Triquis and Mixtecs leave the mountainous southern Mexican state of Oaxaca to till America's fields. But unlike waves of Mexican immigrants before them, they speak neither English nor Spanish, leaving them doubly isolated by language and customs. Today, the town has translators, health outreach workers, a weekend radio station, even a small business loan program, all geared toward increasing communication with and services for the indigenous. At a time when immigration is again front and center in the national debate, and the former INS (now Immigration and Customs Enforcement) deported scores of immigrants working in Midwestern and Mountain State meat-packing plants, students from the UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism traveled to Greenfield in the Salinas Valley to report on a population of immigrants twice removed.
©2006 UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Website by Kevin L. Jones