By Alfredo Corchado, New York Times, June 2, 2018
KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. — Amid all the anti-immigrant fervor, nativists have overlooked a fundamental fact: In recent years, Mexican immigrants and their Mexican-American offspring have been rescuing the most iconic places in America — its small towns.
In the past 10 years, the number of Mexican immigrants living in the United States has declined by more than one million; some left by choice but tens of thousands more left through deportation. Americans who dream of an America without Mexicans should consider Kennett Square.
A town of more than 6,000 people, about an hour outside Philadelphia, Kennett Square proudly calls itself the mushroom capital of the world. The $2.7 billion mushroom industry in southeastern Pennsylvania employs 10,000 people. On New Year’s Eve, Kennett Square drops a bright mushroom cap. These days the festivities are overshadowed by fear.
“Mexicans are leaving, and that’s bad news for everyone,” Chris Alonzo, president of Pietro Industries, one of the biggest mushroom companies, and a third-generation mushroom farmer, told me. “All the negativity, the fearmongering, the anti-immigrant feeling is hurting our small town. We’re seeing labor shortages, and that threatens the vibrancy of our community.”
Kennett Square isn’t an anomaly….
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