'They're good workers. And they're all we've got'

  • Suspected illegal immigrants rounded up in Jackson, Wyo.

    Garth Dowling
  • Immigration and law enforcement officials round up suspected illegals

    Garth Dowling
  • Suspected"illegals' rounded up in largest bust in Wyo. history

    Garth Dowling
  • Kay Humann

    Lisa Jones
 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Kay Humann is the office manager at High Country Linen in Jackson, Wyo. Accustomed to running the computer and the phones in the front of the building, she worked in the hot, steamy laundry 16 hours a day for a week after the Aug. 28 bust. Then, mercifully, the workers came back.

Kay Humann: "Really, the only people we can get to apply for these jobs are the Spanish people. They're the ones that will do it; they're our work force right now.

"We ran an ad in the paper this last year for a driver for two months and had three applicants! And we ended up hiring a Spanish guy because he's the only one who applied and took the job. I've been in Jackson 10 years. It's changed. We used to get guys from Orville's - the local mission - or older women who couldn't make a living. But that stopped because even the guys from Orville's wouldn't work for us. They get their first paycheck and they get that jug of wine and they're gone. The Mexicans don't do that. Absolutely not. They're workers; they're good workers. And they're all we've got.

"There's a lot of good things about it and ... there's a lot of other things. I was raised in a tiny farming town in the San Joaquin Valley in California, and I watched things go from, you know, where there were two or three Spanish people in my high school to now, my sister told me my niece just graduated, and there were only three Caucasian kids in the whole graduating class. I mean, you know? It's scary, kind of."

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