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Thread: North Dakota, a pure Germanic area with a low population

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    Senior Member SwordOfTheVistula's Avatar
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    North Dakota, a pure Germanic area with a low population

    If these people want more money/jobs why not just move to NYC or some place like that? Obviously to Dakotans the general culture and atmosphere is more important, so why turn it into North Arkansas?

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/politic...igration_N.htm

    COOPERSTOWN, N.D. — Every other Wednesday at lunchtime, the Coachman Inn attracts what, in this sparsely populated part of the world, amounts to a crowd. They come for the kumla— the Scandinavian potato dumplings their grandmothers and great-grandmothers used to make.



    It's a lively scene that reveals a sobering demographic truth. The hands passing the pitchers of melted butter are weathered; the heads bobbing in animated conversation are mostly silver-haired. The kumla tradition is in danger of extinction. So is Cooperstown and many of North Dakota's once-bustling rural crossroads.

    "We simply don't have enough workers," says Orville Tranby, a community leader who in 1999 helped Griggs County, where Cooperstown is the seat, and neighboring Steele County win a 10-year federal grant to create jobs and stem population loss.

    When developers proposed locating a dairy in the area, however, the community shot it down. A proposed hog plant is facing similar opposition. Tranby says it's because some residents fear such facilities might attract a wave of Hispanic immigrants who could change the local culture.

    "I've had them face to face tell me that," he says.

    The tension here reflects why the nation's debate over immigration is likely to be such a potent issue in next year's presidential campaign. More than 1,400 miles from the nation's southwestern border and far from the cities where the debate has been most prominent, the conflicts many communities face in dealing with an aging workforce are exposed in North Dakota like the flat prairie landscape after the fall harvest.

    Nationally, the U.S. Commerce Department projects that the number of people in prime working years, ages 25 to 54, will increase 0.3% a year through 2015. In the third quarter of this year, the economy grew by 3.9%.

    "We're facing a dramatic labor shortage," Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said in a speech in March. "Without immigrants, we don't have enough workers. Period."

    The demographic crisis in North Dakota is more severe. The population increased in only six of North Dakota's 53 counties from 1990 to 2000.

    Farm families have become smaller and farms have become bigger. Richard Rathge, a demographer at North Dakota State University says the average size of a North Dakota farm is 1,300 acres, up from 500 acres during the 1940s.

    That's left businesses in rural communities with fewer customers to serve. That, in turn, leaves the farmers who remain with fewer places to worship, shop or send their kids to school.

    Rathge considers depopulation a threat to the state's agricultural economy. "We've seen North Dakota really hollow out," he says.

    On one hand, state officials are working hard to attract people to North Dakota. The Griggs-Steele empowerment zone wired the area for high-speed Internet, improved parks and renovated apartments.

    But as the conflict over the plans for a dairy here shows, residents are struggling with what Democratic state Rep. Lee Kaldor calls "cultural concerns."

    Welcoming newcomers is part of the state's settler heritage, but "the average North Dakotan is German or Norwegian, Lutheran and white," Kaldor says. "If we have an influx of people with a different heritage, how will we react?"

    Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., is co-sponsoring a "new homestead act" to provide incentives for people who relocate in North Dakota, but he sees the immigration debate as a "separate issue."

    Solving the state's depopulation problem, he says, is a matter of creating enough good jobs to attract Americans.

    Becky Meidinger, who heads the Cooperstown economic development office, isn't so sure. She says rural North Dakotans "have to break some barriers down" and recognize that "we're not going to get the people we feel comfortable with in this area."

    Dorgan and North Dakota's other Democratic senator, Kent Conrad, are taking a tough line in the national immigration debate.

    Last month, when the Senate considered a bill to stop the deportation of children and young adults who grew up in the USA after being brought here illegally by their parents, four of the eight Democrats who joined Republicans in blocking it were from Canadian border states with acute labor shortages: Conrad, Dorgan and Montana's Max Baucus and Jon Tester.

    The senators say they were responding to their constituents' concerns.

    "People are very disturbed … by these images of millions of people crossing our border illegally," Conrad says. "We seem to have lost control of our country."

    Dorgan, a leading voice against the outsourcing of American jobs, sees illegal immigration as "the reverse side of the same coin. "The same corporations that want to export good jobs want to import cheap labor here," he says.

    That argument carries some weight in a state that ranks near the bottom in median household income at $39,233 a year. While North Dakota's labor shortage has not yet brought incomes up to the national median, it serves as a magnet for undocumented immigrants.

    This month, agents for state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem plucked 26 suspected illegal immigrants from the rooftops of Fargo homes, where they were repairing damage from recent hailstorms.

    In April, a story about 13 undocumented workers being nabbed at a North Dakota dairy lit up the phone lines for Ed Schultz, a self-described "lefty Democrat" who hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show from Fargo, North Dakota's biggest city.

    "I was surprised by the vehemence of the response," he says.

    Seeing immigrants as a threat

    Attitudes along the nation's northern tier indicate that the level of anger about illegal immigration has little to do with firsthand experience. Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, North Dakota ranks 48th in terms of its percentage of foreign-born population. Montana ranks 49th.

    Yet in the month before a bipartisan effort to overhaul the nation's immigration policy collapsed last June, Montana's junior senator was inundated with calls opposing the plan, which would have offered an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship.

    "I got more comments in one month (on the immigration bill) than I did in a whole year on Iraq," Tester says.

    The building tension over illegal immigration seems to have created a political talking point for Republicans in particular. With an unpopular president and an unpopular war weighing against Republicans in this year's elections, some GOP candidates across the nation had success by casting crackdowns on illegal immigration as a matter of national security.

    "I think the feeling of the average person is anger that illegal immigration is ruining their neighborhoods and their community," Corey Stewart says. He won re-election this month as chairman of the board of supervisors in Prince William County, a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C., after a campaign in which he emphasized his plan to deny county benefits to illegal residents.

    In northeastern Pennsylvania, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, who made national headlines last year with his effort to drive illegal immigrants from his town, won re-election by a nearly 9-to-1 ratio after getting the nomination of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Now, Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican and chairman of his party's congressional campaign committee, is trying to recruit Barletta to challenge veteran Democratic Rep. Paul Kanjorski.

    In some instances, however, candidates focusing on illegal immigration have seen their strategy backfire.

    It didn't help several prominent Republican candidates who made a promise to crack down on illegal immigration a key issue in 2006: Rick Santorum lost his Senate seat in Pennsylvania, and John Hostettler of Indiana, J.D. Hayworth of Arizona and Henry Bonilla of Texas all lost House seats.

    Although Stewart won re-election as county board chairman in Virginia's Prince William County, two other Republican candidates who ran on similar anti-illegal immigration platforms lost bids for the state Senate.

    Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg say their polling indicates that immigration is the top issue for independent voters looking ahead to the 2008 elections.

    "This is a real wedge issue that Democrats need to get right," they wrote in a memo they released to reporters Oct. 30.

    A week later, U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., introduced a bill to add 8,000 Border Patrol agents and require employers to verify that their workers are legal residents.

    His 95 co-sponsors include Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican running for president who has made opposition to illegal immigration his main issue, and 45 Democrats. Sixteen of those Democrats are freshmen who, like Shuler, face tough re-election fights in GOP-leaning districts. Shuler's bill quickly found a Senate sponsor: Mark Pryor, a Democrat up for re-election next year in Arkansas.

    At the same time, Hispanic leaders are pushing the party to remain loyal to voters who helped Democrats win control of the House and Senate in last year's election.

    The conflict for Democrats was apparent in the difficulty the party's two leading presidential candidates, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., had recently in answering questions about New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposal to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens.

    Clinton eventually came out against the idea; Obama gave it a qualified endorsement. Spitzer ended up withdrawing the plan.

    Some strategists argue that lawmakers are overreacting to a vocal minority.

    "They have a megaphone from one side stuck in their ear," says Ed Goeas, a Republican pollster who has worked for groups advocating immigration changes that include a path to citizenship for many illegal immigrants.

    Another advocate of that approach, Frank Sharry of the National Immigration Forum, says the get-tough-on-illegal-immigrants proposals make better campaign rhetoric than policy.

    If they were enacted, "some undocumented immigrants would leave the country, but the vast majority would stay even as they are driven further into the shadows," Sharry says. "Unscrupulous employers and cutthroat subcontractors would have a bigger pool of even easier-to-exploit workers, and decent employers intent on paying decent wages and growing their businesses would be further undermined."

    '10,000 jobs looking for people'

    In North Dakota, the percentage of the population in prime working years — ages 25 to 54 — is below the national average and will fall from 40.5% in 2000 to 33.4% by 2020, the Census projects.

    "We've got 10,000 jobs looking for people," says Kaldor, the legislator.

    The situation has people here in a state of chronic anxiety. That's because the state's two leading commodities, agriculture and energy, are notoriously volatile. So while prices may be good this year, "we all know the wipeout that can be over the next hill," says Conrad, the state's senior senator.

    Both facets of the state were on display this month on Schultz's talk show. One North Dakota employer said his business is sinking because of illegal immigrants; another said he would be sunk without them.

    Roger Hauck, a Fargo drywaller, says he had to lay off half his workforce — 30 people — because he was being underbid by competitors using illegal labor.

    "They were breaking every wage and hour law on the books," he says. "I couldn't get a job."

    Mike Zimmerman, owner of a Minot dairy, says he hasn't been able to replace the Mexican workers whose arrests provoked all the angry calls to Schultz earlier this year.

    Zimmerman says he thought they were legal. They were the only laborers willing to stay with the job, which pays $30,000 a year plus housing, he adds.

    "They weren't good workers," Zimmerman says. "They were great workers."

    Meanwhile, in Cooperstown, where memories of the town's non-English-speaking founders and their potato dumpling recipes remain vivid, residents must weigh whether it's worth changing their community in order to save it.

    The federal grant money to stem outmigration has slowed the tide, but not stopped it.

    In neighboring Steele County, Auditor Linda Leadbetter ticks off a list of restaurants, grocery stores and even a bowling alley that are being run by municipal governments because they aren't profitable enough to attract private owners.

    "We can't discourage everybody from coming here," she says.

    "We have to be prepared to open up and let change come in."
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    I hope these wonderful rural countries can preserve their ethnical integrity and culture in the future! It would be a shame if these states are becoming asylums for foreigners like other US-states.

    If I had to plan a vacation to the USA, I´d prefer states like Montana, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming or parts of inside Washington state over states like Philadelphia, Arizona or Texas for sure.

    "Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    If I had to plan a vacation to the USA, I´d prefer states like Montana, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming or parts of inside Washington state over states like Philadelphia, Arizona or Texas for sure.
    Well, realistically you can't visit U.S.A. , excluding New York city or similars.........but yes, if i had to select some places.........Wyoming/Colorado area comes first. (if, i had to emigrate in North-America, in my life, Colorado would be the first option........)






    Quote Originally Posted by Valkyrie View Post
    I hope these wonderful rural countries can preserve their ethnical integrity and culture in the future! It would be a shame if these states are becoming asylums for foreigners like other US-states.
    It's what i fear.

    Most of the states we refer to, are VERY depopulated ; Montana has less than 1 million of inhabitants. North Dakota something like 600'000.

    Hordes of several millions of Mestizos from Mexico could easily erase the original Germanic lifestyle on the rocky mountains.

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    Senior Member SwordOfTheVistula's Avatar
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    Yeah, fortunately they seem to have learned from what happened in Nebraska and Arkansas and is now happening in Iowa: The 'new jobs' created in agribusiness don't keep current residents from leaving, they just bring in newcomers who destroy the main thing the region has going for it-the solitude, culture, and slow pace of life.

    Those places are really nice to visit, especially Wyoming and Colorado, you guys should take advantage of the strong Euro/weak dollar and visit
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    Senior Member SwordOfTheVistula's Avatar
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    The town of Plankinton, South Dakota is giving free land to anyone who wants to move there and build a house. The town is at an interstate crossroads and has recently added jobs:

    http://keloland.com/NewsDetail6162.cfm?Id=0,66505

    Plankinton has added jobs in the community and is now looking for workers.

    The Community Development Corporation is offering free residential lots if people build a house. Eleven have been spoken for already.

    The Aurora Plains Academy wants to add 30 jobs. It's the new operator of the former State Training School.

    A company that does bill-collecting for medical clinics nationwide also is expanding at Plankinton.


    More info on the town:

    http://www.plankinton.com
    Contact Congress on immigration
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