Labels: Immigrants

Jan 23, 2016



Immigrants and related labels. One of our installments in our Labels project.
Credit Alison Petrash


'“Wetback” “Anchor baby” “Grasshopper”.

These terms are derogatory labels for immigrants who come into the country illegally.

As part of our year-long Labels reporting project, we explored the labels some immigrants often hear and carry, even when those were forced upon them. Through the story of a twelve-year old that crossed the border unaccompanied, we talk about labels that represent danger, we walk you through some immigration processes and we’ll explore through music what these labels represent to those who carry them.


This is Alex, a twelve-year-old boy who crossed the US/Mexican border unaccompanied starting in El Salvador. You can hear his story in the program.
Credit Paola Marizán

For a clear description of what many endure on these trips, we speak to Investigative reporter John Frey, whose work focuses on migrant life and marginalized communities. To help us understand what some of the legal processes are, we talk to Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, an expert in Hispanic Populations and Immigrants at the Pew Research Center.

So why all the negative labels? We put that question to nationally recognized diversity training consultant Howard Ross. It turns out that we may have no idea why we do it.To analyze these Labels further a bilingual conversation emerged between Paola and former WNIN host Cass Herrington. Enjoy the added insight of blended cultures as they dig into the meaning of music that invokes saints, talk about an arduous path and accounts that relate the American dream to Disneyland.' If you want to hear more of the songs played in today's show, we have included a list of a few below: Train by Chingo BlingPa'l Norte by Calle 13Disneylandia by Jorge Drexler