KC Currents
10:05 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Children Of Immigrant Meatpackers Find Opportunities In Rural Areas

Binh Hua (left) and My Nguyen (right), both 18, are best friends, whose Vietnamese parents work at the Tyson beef plant. They finished high school in three years and are hoping to have associate degrees by next year.
Binh Hua (left) and My Nguyen (right), both 18, are best friends, whose Vietnamese parents work at the Tyson beef plant. They finished high school in three years and are hoping to have associate degrees by next year.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

For many generations, meatpacking plants in Kansas City were a place where immigrants found a foothold in U.S. society. They worked difficult and dangerous jobs in those slaughterhouses, often with the hopes of securing a better future for their children.

In recent decades, meatpacking plants have continued to employ immigrants and refugees. But the plants have moved out of urban areas, and into rural towns, where there’s less of a support system for those immigrants and their children.

Harvest Public Media’s Peggy Lowe and Abbie Fentress-Swanson recently visited Noel, Mo.and Garden City, Kan. to learn about the lives and dreams of rural immigrant and refugee children. They found very different approaches in the two communities. Those stories were reported in the series In the Shadows Of The Slaughterhouses.

On KCUR's news program KC Currents, we teamed up with Harvest Public Media to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the children of immigrant and refugee meatpacking workers, and how Garden City has become a kind of model for the integration of immigrant and refugee children.

Guests:

  • Abbie Fentress-Swanson, reporter for Harvest Public Media
  • Debra Bolton, family life educator at Kansas State University’s Research and Extension Program