Sandra Langlois says an influx of illegal immigrants has made it harder to find work in Albertville, Alabama. "It's unfair," she says. More than a quarter of this town's residents are Hispanic, and they have different views about the impact immigration has on the community.
Danny Maltbie, a volunteer at the Albertville Museum, says it's time for the city to move forward and accept immigrants. "They're good people," he says. "Let's make them part of our society."
"There's never going to be an American doing the work I do. I'm not stealing anyone's job," says Freddy Salazar, who works in a chicken plant. His wife, Nancy, a preschool teacher, says people who criticize immigrants in Albertville are racist.
Chuck Ellis supported ordinances aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration when he was on Albertville's City Council. Now, he says, the government needs to do a better job of screening people before they enter the country and figuring out who's already here. "If we're not diligent and making sure that people are coming in that have been vetted, we're going to mess up," he says. "We can't have open borders."
Even when tensions over immigration boiled over in Albertville, officials worked hard to keep them out of the schools, Albertville High School Principal Deidra Robinson says. "Diversity," she says, "is a strength."
Louis Rejouit's store caters to Albertville's Haitian population, which has grown in recent years as chicken plants in the area started recruiting refugees.
"You can't just open the floodgates to every nationality and ethnic group. And I think that's what's happened," Marlin Murphy says. "Our country's lost control." The military veteran and retired construction company owner says he's particularly worried about Muslim immigrants coming into the United States. "I think they're a threat and a danger to this country because they're out to kill us."
Immigrants who've committed violent felonies should be deported, and there should be thorough background checks before anyone enters the country, Tina Langley says. "Then they can be US citizens. I'm good with that. " But the restaurant manager, 54, says she doesn't like that her grandchildren are being required to study Spanish in school. "I want them to have a choice," she says. "To me, it's like they're saying, you have to speak like they do."
The Rev. Guillermo Aristizabal says Albertville's growing immigrant population has made his parish one of the largest in the Southeast. About 2,800 families are members, and when there are big festivals, he says, "it looks like a Latin American town."
Michael and Jenifer Rhoden are planning to vote for Donald Trump but say some of his statements about immigration are hard to stomach. Jenifer says it was tough to hear her 10-year-old daughter's reaction. "She told me, 'No, don't vote for Trump. My friends told me if he gets in office they'll send their moms and dads back to Mexico.' "
Immigrant labor is a key ingredient in getting food onto most American tables, Monte Weldon says. "A lot of people would go hungry if they weren't there," she says.
Albertville Mayor Tracy Honea tries to take a positive approach toward immigrants in the community. "I truly believe folks need to be legal," he says, "but it's out of our control on a national level."
"When I was in high school there were probably 10 Hispanic people in our school. Now my daughter's kindergarten class is 52% Hispanic," says Quinton Williams, executive pastor at LifePoint Church. "There's opportunity here. America was great and is great because of the opportunity it provides."
It's no surprise that some in Albertville have trouble adjusting to the influx of immigrants, restaurant owner Reggie Daniel says. "They don't even like it if you change the menu, much less change their country or their city," he says. But Daniel says most people in Albertville have learned to recognize the value that immigrants bring. "If you were to deport them, the economy here would collapse."