Chapter

“There Goes the Neighborhood”

Gary Alan Fine and Bill Ellis

in The Global Grapevine

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199736317
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866458 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736317.003.0005
“There Goes the Neighborhood”

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Hazleton, Pennsylvania, was typical of many working‐class communities in America recently impacted by a rapid increase in the Latino population. Itself made up of the descendants of previous immigrants from Europe a century ago, the community might have been expected to understand and tolerate the newcomers. But in fact, the change was marked by a wave of xenophobia, with rumors blaming crime and cultural decay on the new residents, and the reaction climaxed with the passage of a new city law imposing harsh penalties on undocumented aliens. Later, one such immigrant was confronted and beaten to death on the street of a nearby town. The area's angry reaction can be understood in the context of local politics, influenced by nationally circulated claims that “illegal immigrants” were tied to criminal gang activity, drug dealing, and cynical appropriation of free government services.

Keywords: Hazleton; Pennsylvania; working‐class communities; illegal immigrants; Latino migrants; rumor; gangs; drugs; xenophobia

Chapter.  11370 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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