The Medina children, originally from Marshalltown, Iowa, their current ages and place of birth, in this undated old photo: (left to right) Elizabeth, 23, born in Los Angeles; Alfonso, 26, born in Roanoke, Virginia; Marcos, 14, born in Marshalltown, Iowa; Omar, 19, born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Isaac, 21 born in Davenport, Iowa. Credit: Submitted by Isaac Medina

They were born in the United States and consider themselves full-blooded Americans. But the fact that their parents immigrated to this country means first-generation Americans often have to explain their ethnicity, and citizenship.

“In a lot of senses you have two masks,” Isaac Medina, originally from Marshalltown, Iowa, said about living as a Mexican-American. “That’s part of living on the hyphen.”

Former IowaWatch reporter Krista Johnson, now a reporter for the San Angelo (Texas) Standard-Times, spoke with three first-generation Americans in an early 2017 report about the challenge they face being caught in the middle of two different cultures and countries. The report was part of a project she did as a University of Iowa student and then turned over to IowaWatch to be published.

This radio podcast lets you hear from the people with whom Johnson spoke, and to go deeper into the matter with an interview about cultural and ethnic diversity in Iowa.

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