Indeed, three months after the sweeps, nearly everyone agrees that the fabric of this community has changed. Hundreds of Hispanic families, both legal and illegal, seem to have disappeared.
John Davy, a co-owner of Panhandle Growers, said some employers “treated their guys humanely” by helping them flee to other areas. “What we’re victims of is a system that’s broken,” he said.
Many residents said they felt torn between competing loyalties to compassion and the law.
Many of the immigrants came to the community to help re-build after hurricanes and were welcomed with open arms. Despite the below-average unemployment rate in the area, people began to see immigrants as competition for jobs, and some began to be culturally or racially motivated to begin stricter enforcement of immigration laws.
The article discusses some of the adverse impacts the raids are having (both on the immigrant community and the town as a whole).