On the heels of the raid at an Asheville-based defense contractor that resulted in the arrest of 57 suspected illegal aliens, comes word that the Carolinas and Tennessee lead the nation’s per capita growth in overall Latino population during 2006-07.
South Carolina led the way, with Tennessee second and North Carolina (a past leader) ranking third, based on new U.S. Census figures.
According to Census and press reports, the new arrivals come not only from Mexico, Central and South America, but also New York, New Jersey and California, where U.S. economic problems have taken a greater toll. Latinos continue to see the Carolinas as having more jobs, cheaper housing and a better climate.
The Carolinas have experienced their own economic turmoil, but far more Latinos continue to arrive than leave.
Nearly 14,000 illegal immigrants have been deported this year out of the Atlanta field office of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which overseas operations in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina — a 220 percent increase from 2005.
— Hal L. Millard, staff writer