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632: Our Town

632: Our Town

Dec 8, 2017
We spent eight months and did over a hundred interviews to try to bypass the usual rhetoric and get to the bottom of what really happened when undocumented workers showed up in one Alabama town. Pictured: Albertville “Miss Chick” 1954.
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Note: The internet version of this episode contains un-beeped curse words. BEEPED VERSION.
  • The man whose views on immigration are a cornerstone of Trump administration policy—Attorney General Jeff Sessions—apparently came to his opinions on the issue from seeing what happened in the poultry plants of Alabama. He believes undocumented workers showed up in those plants, stole American jobs, and drove down wages. Was he right? We have an economist crunch the numbers, and visit to see for ourselves.
  • Act One.

    29 Min
    We’ve visited Albertville, Alabama many times now, to figure out exactly what happened when the population shifted from 98% white in 1990, to a fourth Latino twenty years later. We interviewed more than one hundred people.

    Sessions is not totally right, but he’s not totally wrong either.

    Our main witnesses to what happened in the plants are three long-time workers named Pat and Martha and Carlos. Ira Glass, Miki Meek
  • Act Two.

    26 Min
    We hear the companies’ side—they have a totally different story to tell than the workers.

    We also go to one of the leading researchers on the economic effects of immigrants, Giovanni Peri, who chairs the economics department at UC Davis. He and researcher Justin Wiltshire did a study for us on what happened to wages and jobs in Albertville. They compared wages and employment in the area around Albertville to places in Alabama with similar job markets that did not have an influx of immigrants. Read their full study. Ira Glass, Miki Meek

    Song:

    • "Workin’ Woman Blues", Valerie June

Photo

Courtesy of The Sand Mountain Reporter
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