Editor’s note: The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting hosted a reporting workshop on the U.S. visa system in April 2015. It was one of five specialized reporting institutes this year funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation through the The Poynter Institute. Nearly two dozen journalists from around the country attended this two-day intensive workshop. The workshop spurred deep discussion and many story ideas, such as the one below.
High-tech on the Hi-Line? Proposed project relying on foreign workers prompts questions
By Daniel DeMay, Bozeman Daily Chronicle
HARLEM — In this tiny town on Montana’s Hi-Line, a project is planned that would potentially bring 20 or more foreign high-tech workers to town, pay out more than $1 million in annual salaries, and create Internet resources for residents of the nearby Fort Belknap Indian Community.
At first glance, the proposed “Cyber-Rez” project would be a positive pilot program to help rural Native communities stay connected to the modern world.
But questions remain about where foreign workers would live, who’s going to pay them and who stands to gain from a project that even leaders of the native reservation it would benefit say they know nothing about.
Beyond that, a state attorney has suggested that a web of business-to-nonprofit activity surrounding the project’s leaders could be pushing the boundaries of what’s legal and what’s not.
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