Illustration by Kristian Knutsen and Scott Gordon; azimuth projection map via NS6T/Tom Epperly

Series: Wisconsin's Diverse Waves Of Immigration

Many distinct and ongoing waves of immigration have indelibly shaped communities across Wisconsin. The 19th-century influxes of immigrants from Germany, Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe are strongly associated with the state's cultural identity, but the immigrant experience in Wisconsin is far more varied. Canada has been a small but steady source of immigrants throughout the state's history. Several increasingly large phases of immigration from Mexico and other nations around Latin America have left imprints around the state, ranging from Milwaukee to dairy and vegetable farms in rural areas. In recent decades, immigrants from Asia have likewise increasingly made their home in the state, with Hmong communities standing out. As new groups of immigrants arrive in Wisconsin, their civic, religions and economic contributions adds to the state's diversity.
 
In the rural Wisconsin city of Abbotsford, on the border of Marathon and Clark counties in the middle of the state, about 500 of 2,300 residents are Latino, drawn there to work on the dairy farms, in the factories, and at one of the region's big employers, the Abbyland Foods meat processing company.
Immigration and diversity are very much rural issues in Wisconsin. Some of Wisconsin's ethnic and racial minority groups are clustered in specific geographic areaa, but Hispanic people are widely distributed across much of the state.
Few people would consider Wisconsin an ethnically diverse state, unless they're considering various strains of European ancestry. That is factually correct, but Wisconsin has seen many waves of change over the years.
For many Upper Midwesterners in the 21st century, not much could seem more familiar than the marks of Scandinavian influence on regional culture. But there was a time in North American history when Norwegians, Swedes and Danes were considered peculiar outsiders.
Wausau's Hmong community has become integrated into central Wisconsin over the past several decades, but still faces struggles. Marathon County Board of Supervisors member Yee Leng Xiong discusses the Hmong community's experiences in the region.
Audio: 
Trained as a classical musician in Mexico, Raphael Baez was recruited to come to the United States by the C.D. Hess Opera Company in the 1880s.
Lucia Nuñez on WPT
Just like other Cuban-Americans around the country, those who live in Wisconsin may find themselves involved in a complex discussion as the U.S. normalizes relations with Cuba.
Audio: 
Maria Huerta came to Milwaukee from Mexico with her husband. She knew no English but soon started classes at Journey House in Milwaukee.