THE NEW FACES OF MONMOUTH
By Ashley Lutz
Diversity is on the rise in the city of Monmouth, Il, and its largely due to the need for workers at one of Monmouth’s largest employers, which has difficulty finding Caucasian workers to apply for jobs.
Liz Voyles, the President of New World Immigration Services, says “This is mainly due to the ongoing need for laborers at Farmland Foods.” She says it is common for Mexicans and African refugees with green cards to work at the meat packing plant.
Families like Alma and Claudia Conches moved to Monmouth for better working experiences. Alma Conches and her family moved here from Mexico when she was only in sixth grade. She explains how hard the transition was, especially without knowing English. “School was tough at first, but I would stay after to work with one of the Spanish teachers who taught me English” Conches states.
Conches explains how she has noticed the rise in diversity. “When we first moved here, there were not too many other Mexican families. Now I see them all around.” She also talked about the two Mexican restaurants in town and the growing amount of Mexican grocery stores. Conches adds, “It is nice to see things that remind me of Mexico, even thought I do not live there any more.”
Alma’s cousin, Claudia Conches has a similar story. Her family moved here a little after her uncles moved to DeKalb, IL. She was six years old when her family picked up and moved to Monmouth because of the work opportunities also. “Monmouth was the first place my parents felt comfortable with their jobs” says Conches.