The town of Kerman, just west of Fresno, has grown by some 60 percent over the last decade. That’s fueled in part by a wave of Punjabi immigrants, whose cultural and political influence is reshaping a town that’s still largely Latino.
Kerman’s a town of about 13,000, small enough that most families seem to know each other. And the climate seems most familiar, with its sweltering summers and foggy, damp winters. Plus, there’s plenty of flat, rich farmland. Just like in Punjab, a largely agricultural state in northwest India.
Kerman has become such a popular destination for Punjabi immigrants that a newspaper editor from Punjab’s capital, Chandigargh, came here to profile the town.
Even though they make up just 12 percent of the population here, Punjabis are leaving a much bigger cultural and political footprint. In fact, the tiny Kerman public library claims it holds the largest collection of Punjabi books of any public library in the nation.
And Punjabis hold two out of five seats on the city council. Local leaders here estimate that in most elections, 80 to 90 percent of Kerman’s Punjabis turn out to vote.
Source: California Report