Pilgrim's Pride Raid: Economic Fallout
Eyewitness News Reporter
Chattanooga, TN (WRCB-TV) --
Chattanooga's Hispanic population tripled between 1990 and 2000, but this week's Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raid has a once thriving community concerned they may have to disappear.
Strolling the streets of Chattanooga's Hispanic community., you notice it's quieter than usual. The silence comes two days after federal agents arrested more than a hundred suspected illegal immigrants at the "Pilgrim's Pride" chicken processing plant downtown.
"People are afraid to get out of their house now," explained Maria Fuentes. "Their afraid to go shopping or do their normal things. They just stay home and try to not get out."
Maria Fuentes and her family own an Hispanic market, at the corner of Broad and Main streets. She's seen fewer customers since the raid.
"If it keeps like that, we might have to actually lay off some people," said Fuentes. "Because we don't have work for them."
Fuentes hopes business will pick up in a month or two, but admits a raid this big will have long-term effects.
Like many, she worries Latinos will leave Chattanooga for good.