December 8, 2017

Our Town - Part One

We spent eight months and did over a hundred interviews to try to bypass the usual rhetoric and get to the bottom of what really happened when undocumented workers showed up in one Alabama town.

This two-part series won a 2019 duPont-Columbia Award.

Albertville “Miss Chick” 1954.

Courtesy of The Sand Mountain Reporter

More in this Series

Note: The internet version of this episode contains un-beeped curse words. BEEPED VERSION.



Today's show came out of something we heard politicians saying. And we wondered — is that true? And the answer set us on this eight-month journey on which we started to learn all kinds of things that we had never imagined.

Act One

Act One

We’ve visited Albertville, Alabama many times now, to figure out exactly what happened when the population shifted from 98% white in 1990, to a fourth Latino twenty years later. We interviewed more than one hundred people.

Sessions is not totally right, but he’s not totally wrong either.

Our main witnesses to what happened in the plants are three long-time workers named Pat and Martha and Carlos.(29 minutes)

Act Two

Act Two

We hear the companies’ side—they have a totally different story to tell than the workers.

We also go to one of the leading researchers on the economic effects of immigrants, Giovanni Peri, who chairs the economics department at UC Davis. He and researcher Justin Wiltshire did a study for us on what happened to wages and jobs in Albertville. They compared wages and employment in the area around Albertville to places in Alabama with similar job markets that did not have an influx of immigrants. Read their full study. (26 minutes)