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Apr 17th, 2011


Hispanics Transform State Demographics

By Kirsti Marohn
St. Cloud Times
April 17, 2011

Excerpts

In the past two decades, Melrose [Minn.] has changed from an overwhelmingly white city with strong German ancestry to a diverse community with a growing Hispanic population.

According to the 2010 census data released last month, the city’s Hispanic population more than doubled in the last decade. Hispanics now make up nearly a quarter of the city’s total population of 3,598.

The influx of Spanish-speaking residents has changed the community in countless ways. But unlike some cities, Melrose hasn’t struggled with painful racial tensions or clashes of culture. That could be linked to a welcoming attitude demonstrated by city and church leaders, as well as efforts to help integrate immigrants into the community. …

Cold Spring, home of a Gold’n Plump poultry plant, had 40 Hispanic residents a decade ago and now has 287, according to the census bureau. Sauk Centre’s Hispanic residents increased by 800 percent from 21 to 189. …

The trend mirrors what’s happening on a state and national scale. Hispanics accounted for more than half of the U.S. population increase over the last decade and crossed a new census milestone: 50 million, or one in six Americans.

Cold Spring, home of a Gold’n Plump poultry plant, had 40 Hispanic residents a decade ago and now has 287, according to the census bureau. Sauk Centre’s Hispanic residents increased by 800 percent from 21 to 189. …

The trend mirrors what’s happening on a state and national scale. Hispanics accounted for more than half of the U.S. population increase over the last decade and crossed a new census milestone: 50 million, or one in six Americans. …

Full story

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Commentary

The rapid growth of central Minnesota’s immigrant population, if it continues unabated, has the potential to cause significant social conflict down the road — though less so in the case of Mexican immigrants than for Somalis.

The reason the rapid growth of Minnesota’s Mexican population is less likely to generate conflict is that Hispanics present two cross-cutting cleavages: religious and racial.

Cross-cutting cleavage is a political term that refers to factors in society that cause division (such as race, political, religious divisions, etc.) in such a way that no group created by one “cleavage” is wholly contained within a group created by another – hence “cross-cutting.” (Wikipedia)

Historically, central Minnesota is predominantly Catholic — as is the Hispanic immigrant and migrant population. Hence, religion is cross-cutting, which serves as a stabilizing factor. In addition, the ethnic differences between central Minnesota’s overwhelmingly white population — largely of German origin – and Mexican immigrants is not large; in fact, many whites do not regard Hispanics as “non-white.”

In contrast, there is a large cultural gulf between central Minnesota’s majority-white population and Somali Muslim immigrants from Africa.

Cross-cutting cleavages were originally suggested as a mechanism for political stability, as no group can align all of its members along a uniform cleavage-based platform, but rather having to appeal to members of the group that are spread throughout the groups created by other cleavages. In the case of the Somali immigrant community, the cleavages are “reinforcing” – Christian/Muslim and White/Black.

In general, cross-cutting cleavages contribute to social stability, while reinforcing cleavages are bad news. Combine a serious class divide with stark racial or religious differences and you’ve got the most basic components of a civil war starter kit. (Wikipedia)

The term cross-cutting cleavages was first used in 1967 by Stein Rokkan, in the chapter “Geography, religion, and social class: Cross-cutting cleavages in Norwegian politics,” in the comparative politics text Party Systems and Voter Alignment: Cross-National Perspectives, co-edited by Rokkan and Seymour Martin Lipset. (Wikipedia, with minor edits for accuracy)

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Related reports on this site

Image: Supporters of the Federal DREAM Act participate in a candle-light procession
Supporters of the Federal DREAM Act participate in a candle-light procession. (Photo credit: Damian Dovarganes / AP)

States Fight Illegal Immigration (Feb. 5, 2011)

Enforcing Immigration Law (Dec. 26, 2010)

House Dems OK Amnesty for Young Illegal Immigrants
(Dec. 9, 2010)

Immigration: Government vs. The People (July 28, 2010)

Immigration Enforcement Surge (June 25, 2010)

Arizona Tough on Illegal Immigration (April 23, 2010)

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — April 17, 2010

Republican Radicalization Threat


“By mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead.” (David Frum, prominent conservative and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, in a piece about the health-care vote titled “Waterloo.”)

One year ago today, I reported that despite an upsurge in threats and violence by far-right radical groups and lone wolves, the Homeland Security Department appeared gun-shy about reporting or monitoring the trend too closely. Domestic security and counterterrorism officials said that even though a controversial report issued a year earlier by Homeland Security about a “resurgence” in far-right radicalization and recruitment appears well informed, if not prescient, the Department had done nothing to re-issue the report or update it.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — April 17, 2009

Obama, Biden, Palin Profiled

\
“The Personality Profile of President Barack Obama: Leadership Implications.” Research poster presented by Sarah Moore at the 44th annual Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conference, April 18, 2009, College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, Minn. (Supervisor: Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D.)

Two years ago today, on April 17, 2009, I featured abstracts of research projects on the personality characteristics and leadership style of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin, conducted at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics under my direction.

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