2.25.2007

Latino housekeepers in Savannah arrested for taking the garbage

In Latino housekeepers take out the garbage, but can't take it home (savannahnow 2-25-07), Anne Hart writes about how the immigration debate is playing out in an exclusive Savannah (Georgia) waterfront community.

The waterfront gated community of Dutch Island has become a microcosm of the immigration debate raging throughout the country.

In one corner are homeowners who have Latino housekeepers scrub Corian counter tops and fold high-thread-count linens.

In the other are protect-the-border neighbors suspicious of those who don't speak English and don't understand the customs of this country.

Stuck in the middle are the Latino workers who came to the United States to make money and are willing to sweat through jobs serving the upper-middle class, jobs like cleaning homes for $8-$10 an hour.

Those three groups converged behind the security gates of Dutch Island on Jan. 16.

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According to the U.S. census data (2005 estimate), Chatham County, which includes the City of Savannah and Dutch Island, has a population of 238,410, of which 2.7% (or 6,437 persons) are of Latino heritage--which is below the 7% statewide figure.

While I've never visited Savannah, my understanding is that it is a perfectly lovely place. And while Savannah, as in other parts of the U.S., suffers from the weight of looney racists such as this person, its decent residents are more welcoming of Savannah's future.

Do I hear a Latin Savannah beat? After all, Dutch Island is also known as the Isle of Hope.