Migrant Workers in Northern Michigan

The Glen Arbor Sun has a fascinating look at migrant workers in Leelanau and the Grand Traverse region that is well worth a read and begins:

Photo by Gary Howe - used with permissionThey live amongst us. They drive on the same country roads. They enjoy the same sunsets. And they still play an integral role in harvesting the crops that we not merely eat, but identify with spring, summer and fall in northern Michigan.

The Hispanic and Latino workers indispensable to our asparagus, cherry and apple industries may no longer number in the tens of thousands like they did in the mid-twentieth century — before the introduction of mechanical cherry tree shakers and before recent talk of a wall along the U.S. border to Mexico and National Guardsmen peering south across the Rio Grande — but the thousands that are here are still members of our community…

Read the rest of Invisible in our midst: Hispanics and migrant workers in northern Michigan in Glen Arbor Sun.

Also see Largely forgotten, migrants toiled where others wouldn’t from the Sun.



3 replies
  1. jsorbie
    jsorbie says:

    Interesting article.
    I am amazed however, at the logic flow that equates illegal
    imigrant to migrant worker and then to all Hispanics. That logic flow implies (and as Mr. Coe
    states) that to object to thousands of people ignoring the laws and sovereignty
    of this country is to be afflicted by “paranoia of extremists and prejudice
    policies” and subsequently be guilty of racism. Are other countries guilty of
    racism when they ask me to enter their country through designated border crossings?
    I’ve yet to hear Canada criticized for asking me to enter their country in such
    a manner, or prohibiting me from working in their country (I have experienced that
    directly). Legal workers are welcome (no matter what their race, creed or culture!)

  2. Moses
    Moses says:

    I liked the artical about the hispanic community that have worked for so long in the fields. I was one of them that worked for many years picking oranges in florida then migrating north into leelanau, and grand travers county. I was sixteen then, and I can honestly say that those years were the best teenage years. I am now fifty six and every now and then I think of those times when my parents and my siblings were all together.
    I never met a mean person. I guess it was a place I could be myself, and enjoy and be happy for all we had.
    Michigan has the most wonderful people that I have known, and someday I will go back and swim in the lakes like I was did.

  3. Dave Snyder
    Dave Snyder says:

    Hello – for a better understanding of the Mexican migrants working in the cherry orchards of northern Michigan, I recommend a novel called The Salvation of La Purisima. This is a very human story by T. M. Spooner.



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