'As Iowan as cornfields': How immigration changed one small town
MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa -- When Maria Gonzalez was 3 years old, her mother heard from family who had already immigrated to the U.S. that she could find work in Marshalltown, Iowa.
She followed their advice and took her two young children from Villachuato, their small town in central Mexico, to take a job on the line of the town's meat-processing plant, Swift & Co. That was in the 1990s. Today, though its name has changed, the plant remains the largest employer in the town.
For the Gonzalez family,