Kara Weinacht Sills SOC 301-02 Interview Transcript 11/6/2008 Interviewer: Here we go.

We are gathering data that is important in helping to understand the barriers to immigrant incorporation into the Triad. This is a research study. Research studies include only people who choose to take part. You are being asked to voluntarily take part in this study in order to share your awareness and understanding of immigrants. This interview will be recorded. The recording will be used for research purposes only. It will be destroyed after a transcript is made. No identifying information will be associated with the transcript in order to protect your identity. You are free to refuse to participate, or to withdraw your consent to participate in this research at any timewithout penalty or prejudice. Your participation is entirely voluntary. We may wish to quote from this interview either in reports, presentations, or articles resulting from this work. Your identity will be protected and a pseudonym or alias will be used in the place of your real name. Do you agree to allow me to quote from this interview? Respondent: Yes I: Okay, well then, we can get started. Umm, tell me a little bit about yourself. R: I am currently a senior,graduating in December from UNCG. From Raleigh, North Carolina. 21. I:Huh. How long have you lived here? R: Since I started college, so, four years now. I:Alright. Umm, are you an immigrant? R: No I am not. I:Okay. In what ways do you work with immigration or migrants? R: I’m currently a member of S.A.L.S.A., which is Spanish and… I: Latino? R: Yes, Spanish and Latino Student Association. I: Yeah R: And, well, we just did something where we went to elementary schools for, uh, parent night. I: Okay R: And the ones, those of us who could speak Spanish translated for the parents who couldn’t understand. I: Can you speak Spanish? R:Not very well. I understand just a little but not enough to be of help translating for someone. I: Umm, how long have you been involved with S.A.L.S.A.? R: This is actually my first year, my first semester. I: Uh, why’d you decide to start? R: Well I’m currently…I’m in a fraternity and we’ve got three brothers who are all Latino. I: Okay R: And I’ve always been a fan of Latin culture and I figured it’d be something cool to do. I: Yeah R: So I joined.

I: Okay, umm, besides the school thing, what other stuff have you done with S.A.L.S.A. dealing with immigrants, or migrants, immigration? R: Last month, umm, September, we did the umm Fiesta del Pueblo, which is a large street fair in High Point. I: Okay R: No, not High Point, Winston Salem. Where it’s just a day of, umm, things for the Latin culture, music, food, you know, people selling things, things like that. I: Mhmm. R: And a bunch of us volunteered and went up there for that. I: Okay. Umm, what is the ethnic and national makeup of the organiza… of S.A.L.S.A.? R: It’s predominantly Latino, there’re some people that are Columbian, I think there may be one or two Prevuians, someone’s from Uruguay, then there’s, you know, Caucasian-Americans. I: Is there, well is there a lot, is it mostly… R: It’s predominantly Latino. I: That’s cool… [Background noise and pause] I: Alright, well, umm, I guess tell me about the immigrants you work with. You said children at schools… R:Well, [clears throat], a lot of them, from what I’ve seen are first generation – they just got here, not too long ago. They may have been here for like a couple years but they haven’t been here long enough to, you know, get a good grasp of the community as far as, you know, how to navigate, do things, hence needing translators for talking to their students’… their children’s teachers. So, we try and get with those. There’s also the uhh… that’s pretty much it, first generation people that just got here not too long ago. I: Are there any other issues besides the language barrier and …navigation…I guess…? R:Well of course lots of people come who immigrate from places like Mexico are looking for jobs and though there are lots of lower-wage jobs that they could do, there aren’t always jobs for everyone, so, there’s still people dealing with, you know, homelessness and hunger. And we’re actually doing a canned food drive right now to donate food to the Greensboro Urban Ministry in hopes that they see some of that. And there’s also another place that’s predominately for LatinAmerican people who need help and assistance. I: Umm what…are there any different needs depending on, uhh, like where they come from? Like, you said there were Peruvians…well I guess that’s in…but the immigrants you work with? R: All their needs are pretty much the same as pretty much anyone else, you know, food, you know, information on how to go about getting things that they need as far as going through social programs and things like that. It’s just the language barrier is usually a big thing even though there’s lots of things that are, you know, written in both English and Spanish, you know, you still have to talk to someone and that person may not speak Spanish so, you still need someone, another person to help you, who can bridge the gap for you. I: Yeah. [Sighs.] What are the most difficult issues that you have come into contact with dealing with immigrants? R:[Whispers to passerby.] She’s in S.A.L.S.A. I: Oh, that’s funny. She should come…

R: And Louise, who’s the president, actually walked by just as we were starting too. I: Oh, that’s really funny. R: Umm, what’s... I: Do you want me to ask the question again? R: Yeah, what was the question? I:Umm, what are the most difficult issues you have, you face working with migrants? Language, again? Or… R: Uhh… I: Other ones? R: Language is always probably… I:Yeah… R: …going to be the biggest… I: …That’s always a big one. R:…since I don’t speak Spanish fluent enough to really help myself. But, I’m pretty much just a body to help things. But, language, and sometimes pride does come into it, you know, not wanting to ask for help. I: Oh! R:So, sometimes you know, a parent might not want to ask for help but in the, in turn, the children might suffer because of that pride and things like that. Especially if they’re from Mexico, with machismo, you know, the man doesn’t want to ask for help from anyone. You gotta take care of your own family, so having to get through that is always hard. I: Umm, [sighs], do you collaborate with other umm, like organizations or other people? R:I know that we do the, uh, Casa de Guadalupe. It’s a place that immigrants can go… I:Umm I think… Is that by… it’s the apartment kind of complex? Is that right? With the playground? R:Yeah. And they do, uhh, a flea market type thing,sometimes they do just like clothing drives, where you can donate clothes, things like that. So we work with them. Umm, Greensboro Urban Ministry, just for donating food and things like that. So, various other places around Greensboro and the Triad area. I: So, you, you work with Casa de Guadalupe? R: From time to time. I: You guys like, volunteer? R: Yeah. I:Okay. Umm, what other services are there, specifically for immigrants in Greensboro? R: There’s the usual services that you would go through, like Human Services to get, you know, you might need some help for your children, as far as getting, you know, dental work, umm, maybe some food vouchers, you can go to Greensboro Urban Ministry to get some food, things like that, there are shelters that they can go to if they don’t have a place to stay, umm, I’m not really sure about, like, specific where you can go get a voucher for this or that, but, things like that are what I know of. I: What are the, ha, this is so…umm, I guess repetitive…but, what are the barriers to providing services? R: I guess probably, haha, past language is probably… I: Besides language and machismo R: …machismo, is probably just pride. I:Okay. Do the immigrants know about the services? Like the vouchers and stuff?

R:They probably wouldn’t know, like, just on their own, they probably wouldn’t know that they exist. It takes someone who is looking out for them to let them know that it exists. I: What do you think can be done to increase services or service awareness to migrants? R:Probably, well I guess the biggest thing would probably be, umm, putting the information in places that, you know, we know that they frequent. Uhh, grocery stores, shelters, things like that, umm, as well as…I’m not sure…umm, maybe making it available in like unemployment offices, things like that. I: Mhmm. R: Just places that you know that, someone who’s down on that level would probably frequent and you know that would connect to a lot of the population. I: Umm, does your organization provide any of these services? R: No, we don’t really provide… I: Yeah, you just help out other… R: We’re just college students… I: Uhh, what services are there specifically for immigrant children? [Pause] R: Probably the same as anyone else. I: Really? R: I mean, I’m not sure if there’s like any more services specifically for you know, Latino-American or Latin immigrants as opposed to, you know, just poor childrenthat there’d be anything specific. But , umm, I think I was trying to get us to work on, it’s Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse where you take a shoebox and fill it with, umm, Christmas presents. I: Oh. R:And you turn those in, but, I’m going to try to get us to do that. Umm… I: Do you think they’ll go for it? R: I’m working on it still. I: Okay. R:Just because everyone’s trying to propose different things that we can do for the community. But, umm, of course, Casa de Guadalupe has things.. I: Mhmm R: …but, you know, it’s kind of, I’m newer, so I’m not sure exactly specifics, but I’m sure there are,probably within Casa de Guadalupe and other places like that. But, I couldn’t say “they have this” or… I:Yeah. Well how does being an immigrant child differ from adult immigrants? R: Immigrant children have a better opportunity, because they’re young, to you know, absorb American culture, I’d say. And learn. They still…when you’re six, and you come to America, you have a chance to still learn the language and it’d be relatively…be very good at it by the time it’s really, really important, you know, such as you know, middle school and high school, as opposed to a parent who’s, 30, 40, and they’re kind of past the peak of like, learning things such as, you know, besides how to do a job. I: Well what about parents who, uhh have too much machismo to ask for help for their children? Do you think that could impact… R: That’s probably always going to be a problem for the children. I: Okay. R: If your parents aren’t going to get the help for you, than the only other way would be in school.

I: But you still think the children have a better opportunity? R: They always have a, well, I mean, most parents are trying to make a better life for their children so they still have a better opportunity than, say, the parents would. I:Okay. Umm, should services be focused on immigrant self-sufficiency? R: Repeat that one more time. I: Should services be focused on immigrant self-sufficiency? R:Umm, I would say yes because you should always set it up so that they’re not depending on it. It should always be something to help them, not, you know, hinderthem as well. I: What are the barriers to becoming self-sufficient? R: Too much help. I: Too much help? R: Like, when you offer too much help it makes it too easy for them to just sit back and accept it and live off of that and not do any work for themselves. I: Okay, so, I guess, let’s talk about an example, maybe? R: Let’s say.. I: Like, I guess, well we had talked about like translators, like some people get used to having everything being translated for them, so they just don’t try to learn the language. R: Right. I: Umm, where do you think they should draw the line with that? Like, you know what I mean? Like… R: As far as translators, I’m not really sure, I mean some people it’s just kind of hard to learn a new language, I know I’m struggling with it, myself. But, as far as, I say a different example would be, say, like, things like food stamps, things like that, where you know, they become dependent on getting those food stamps and if anything, would to say, happen, like there’s an interruption in getting them, and they didn’t get a job because they thought that it was coming, and they lived off of that, then their children are stuck and they’re stuck with no food, you know, nothing to eat, things like that. I: Yeah. R: It kindahas to trickle down after that. So… I: Yeah. Well, what, I guess, should be done about that? R: Well, there are things in place like, there’s the, uhh, what is it? I can’t remember what it’s called, but it’s basically says that there’s a particular time period that you can receive aid. I: I think it’s like… R: It’s like six months or so I: …yeah it’s like six months but like… R: And it’s kinda like alright, you know that… I: …it’s so quick. R: …in six months you have to be self-sufficient otherwise, you’re in trouble because you’re not going to have a job or anything. I: So they gotta go by that? R: I mean, they know that they’ve gotta get on their feet in that six months, otherwise, they would be hungry. I: Okay.

R: So, it’s kindaone of those things that pushes you- that motivates you to find a job. And hopefully, before the end of that six months you’ve found a job, and they’re stable, and your employment and things like that. I: Yeah. [Sighs] How long, how long does it take for immigrants and refugees to become self-sufficient in the United States? R: I couldn’t tell you. I mean, it probably varies. I: Yeah. R: Some people may never really ever… I: Uh huh. R: Some people are very quick because they were, I don’t know, a little more prepared for the transition than others. I:Okay. Umm, how does documentation, as in a visa, or, umm, citizenship, play a role in service provisions? R:Well, I know as far as, things like getting a driver’s license, it makes it a little more difficult, because, in some states, you can’t get one without being a citizen. And, but North Carolina you can, you can get an I.D. and as far as getting proper I.D. goes a long way towards getting employment. I: Mhmm. R: And, so, if you can get a visa, it makes life a lot easier than not having one. I: Okay. [Pause]. Umm, in your opinion, should agencies have restrictions on the basis of documentation? [Pause]. Like, healthcare services sometimes won’t… [Pause]. R: I’m kind of, in the middle on that. I: Okay. R: I’m not really sure. I: Okay. R:I think that, I mean, lots of people need help, but there’s always going to be people who take advantage of it, so, there needs to be a line somewhere, as far as, identifying those who need help. So… I: Mhmm. Umm, what do you believe is the hardest part of adjusting to American society? R: I’d say navigating,trying to find employment is probably the hardest thing to do. Though there are lots of opportunities to work under the table, per say, work a construction job without having to pay taxes and things like that. You still have to find those opportunities, you know. There’s always the stories of, you know, contractors rolling up to Home Depot and, you know, picking up a couple guys, you know, but you still have to like, stand in that line, in that group of guys and hope that someone picks you and says “yeah, I’ll give you some, I’ll give you a job for the day.” So… I: Mhmm. Umm, I guess, is language the most important barrier? R:Language goes a long way in acceptance, I’d say. Speaking Spanish is a barrier in America, I’d say, because it’s not American, it’s not English. I: Yeah. R: I mean, so, if you speak English, you gain, it’s a certain level of trust, because they know that you at least identify with that much with you. People want to hire people that share things in common, and, not speaking English when your employer speaks English and doesn’t speak Spanish helps. I: What is being done to assist with the language barrier for immigrants who are new to the area?

R: Uhh, publishing things in both English and Spanish, as well as, there are, you know, there’s free like, E.S.L. classes provided. Like, you know,city parks and recreation places, things like that. So, you can go to those. Of course I think most of the announcements for those are in English, so, it’s probably not the best way of advertising it, but, there’s things like that where you can get in. I: Mhmm. R: Get those… I: Umm, does S.A.L.S.A. have interpreters….we said that already, didn’t we? R: Do they have? I: Interpreters. R: Well, not in like,the meetings. In the meetings everyone speaks English. But there are people who interpret. There’s one or two people that are actually certified interpreters. I: Oh, okay. Do you think Greensboro is a culturally diverse place? R: It’s very diverse. You can drive down High Point Road and it’ll go from, umm, a Vietnamese restaurant, to a Mexican restaurant, to a Japanese restaurant, to a Soublaki (spelling unknown) place, I’m not even sure what…Turkish food, to Indian food, to, you know, Burger King. And, so on and so on as you go down the road. I: Okay. Umm, in your opinion, does the increasing number of immigrants to Greensboro present any problems? R: Everyone would probably say that they’re taking jobs, but I recognize that they only take jobs that no one wants. I: I think that too. I agree. R: And, so, the only problems would probably be for them, since they actually don’t qualify for the jobs that most people want because of their immigrant status, so, it just makes it harder for, them, you know amongstthemselves, their population, to get employment. Because all the jobs that they, on average, would qualify for are… [Background noise talks over interviewee] I: What are some of the ways S.A.L.S.A. has helped the community become more aware of immigrants? R: We do things like, umm, let me think. Maybe two or three weeks ago we had Chile, there was a Chilean cook who came, he came into Greensboro and he cooked in the caf and there was salsa music and we showed people how to dance, things like that, which just brings awareness to the culture at U.N.C.G., which we hope, you know, will trickle down and bring words to the community, things like that. I:How successful have you been, I guess? Umm, With that and other things? R: I’d say fairly successful. There are more and more Latin American people coming to U.N.C.G.for that, so the diversity is increasing here, which helps to spread it in the community, I’d say. And then, programs like our Comelona ,which is actually two weeks away. It’s like a party kind of thing. I: What’s it called? R: Comelona. It’s c-o-m-e-l-o-n-a. Like, come and then lona. I: Yeah, what does it mean? R: I have no idea. I: Hahaha. R: But it’s pretty much like a party… I: Okay. R: …kind of thing. I: For S.A.L.S.A. members or just every…

R: For anyone who wants to come. I think that there’s a price for a ticket, which is like really expensive, but it’s really good, fun time. Salsa music is played, lots of dancing, people will show you how to dance if you don’t know how to. I: Yeah. R: It’s just a really fun time. Which, just, you know, brings more awareness to the culture. I: Mhmm. So you, how do you measure successes and failures? By diversification, or… R: I think that diversification is probably a good measurer. I mean, if you’re getting less and less diverse than you’re probably not doing something right. But if you’re becoming more diverse than, whether it’s you or not, something, you’re, what would be the word, the thing that you’re working towards is at least succeeding somehow, which is always good. I: So you, S.A.L.S.A., what is S.A.L.S.A. working towards? R: Awareness for… I: Awareness? R: Yes, for Latinos and Spanish-Americans. I:Okay, yeah, so I guess that would be successful. Umm, in your opinion, how do most people in the community feel about the foreign-born population? R: Uhh, no different than they felt about twenty years ago or thirty years ago. They still worry, you know, it’s competition, and no one wants competition, so… I: Yeah. [Pause]. So, are they open to immigrants living in the communities? [Pause.] R: On average, probably no, but then you find places like Greensboro where, I’d say, they’re fairly open to it. I: Yeah. R: Accepting. I: What are the major differences between large cities in the U.S. as compared to the Triad area in their reception of immigrants? R: In large cities, I’d say, like New York, you don’t really have acceptance, you have neighborhoods where you know, you have like Little Italy, Little Tokyo, wherever, there’s, like, there’s an acceptance, it’s just a bonding of the culture and they form their own little area. I: Mhmm. R: As far as Greensboro, you don’t have the economy to do that, so everyone’s just kind of forced together. I: Okay. R: So, to intermesh, so, I’d say it’s… I don’t even remember what the question was, I think I could start answering it. I:[Laughs]. I think you answered it. R: What was the last part? I: How are big cities and… R: That’s…yeah. I:…versus little cities in their reception of immigrants? Are immigrants ever discriminated against? R: Yes. Umm… I: In what ways? R: There are stereotypes, you know, that they’re lazy, wanting all free rides, stealing jobs, I mean, it’sdiscrimination, not necessarily on what they’ve done, but an effort to gain an advantage over them. I’d say, like, you produce stereotypes that would

benefit, like, say, a white person, so that they get a job as opposed to an immigrant, say, like, stocking the back room at Target. You use these stereotypes so that a white person gets a job over the immigrant, even though the immigrant has the better work ethic. The white person gets a job because they don’t have that stereotype. And it’s just assumed that they’ll work hard. I:Okay. So, which groups of immigrants do you think are discriminated against? R: I’d say all. Especially Latino immigrants are probably the most discriminated against. And then, I’d probably say those that come from, [pause] well, currently, probably the Middle East. They’re discriminated against a lot. Umm I’d probably say the least are Asian immigrants, but that’s because their culture is more of an internal thing, and so, you don’t really have to depend on the rest of society, you just need your culture,and it supports you know, adapting to the American way of life. So… I: Who discriminates against them? R: I’d say everyone. I: Everyone?! R: Everyone! I mean… I: Even themselves? R: Yes. I: Really?! R: Everything’s a competition. I mean, there wouldn’t be, yeah, I mean, all different cultures, and different countries have their things against each other. You know, Cubans have something against Columbians, Puerto Ricans have something against Dominicans… I: Did you see, umm, this has nothing to do with the interview, Zohan this summer? R: A little bit of it. I: It, that’s what it did, it had umm two Middle Eastern countries, and then it was like Romeo and Juliet, but it was really funny. Umm, but how big of a problem is this? The discrimination? R: Discrimination is a problem because it prevents them from working together. Umm, it’s the same thing with just poor people in general, you’re all fighting for the same jobs, so, the worst thing you could possibly do is divide yourself. Because if you divide yourself than employers can use, can put you against each other, and you both end up working for less. I: Okay. R: Which is, I guess, the purpose of a union. Where, if you’re united, than you can all demand the same thing and… Or there might be fewer jobs. Those who do have jobs make more money, and can support, you know, their family members who may have also been going for those jobs, but at least they make more money as one person, as opposed to a lot less separately. I: Well, how big of a problem is this? Like, the discrimination? R: I’d say it’s improving, but it’s still a problem, like, a serious problem. As far as, and progressing as a culture in America. I: Umm, do you have any concluding remarks about immigrant incorporation into the Triad? Or anything else related to what we have discussed? R: Mmm, no, I don’t think so. I: Well, I’m going to turn this off then.

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