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Participant name: Jody Swilky

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FT-61075-13Research Programs: Summer StipendsJody SwilkyEthnic Diversification and the Changing Character of Perry, Iowa6/1/2013 - 7/31/2013$6,000.00Jody Swilky   Drake UniversityDes MoinesIA50311-4516USA2013Ethnic StudiesSummer StipendsResearch Programs6000060000

This book-length project explores the effects of significant demographic change that began in Perry, Iowa, during the early 1990s. Latinos, arriving from U.S. border states and immigrating from Mexico, came to work at the local meatpacking plant, increasing the Latino percentage of the total population from 1 percent to approximately 25 percent. This transformation is representative of what happened to many rural communities in Iowa during the 1990s, primarily due to changes in the meatpacking industry. This study examines how Anglo and Latino residents' perspectives reflect or contrast with discourse on immigration that has been conspicuous since the 1990s in the national media and legislation, thereby shedding light on the complications and the challenges of diversification; addressing immigration-related issues without demonizing and dehumanizing human subjects; and challenging how public debate has defined the possibilities for immigration legislation and policy reform.