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Hispanic population growing fast in Magic Valley

The Associated Press, September 10, 2000

BURLEY, Idaho (AP) -- The number of Hispanics in Idaho is estimated at almost 100,000 and is projected to grow to more than 200,000 residents by the year 2025, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

"A lot of growth is coming from within," said Gladys Esquibel, chairwoman of the Idaho Commission of Hispanic Affairs. "More people are settling in the area, getting married, having kids."

"It's normal growth, like in any other population," said Alex Castaneda, regional manager of the Idaho Migrant Council.

The increase in the number of Hispanics to the Magic Valley at first was due to a seasonal migrant population that took advantage of agricultural jobs in summer, Esquibel said. But some families settled in the area and found year-round employment.

They were then able to allow their children to focus more on education. In a migrant family, Castaneda said, "kids were taken from school to school and were not advancing at all. Our goal is to get them out of the migrant stream and to get them to take advantage of the American dream."