When I moved to Frederick 31 years ago, there were no Latino-appealing stores. In 1983, you could speak English with no further interference or being drowned in Spanish.
Oscar Carrillo was my introduction to Guatemalans and a good example he was. He could do everything expertly. He had a son, Jeffery. His wife is called Milvia Lopez for some Spanish reason. I sweated out Oscar becoming a U.S. resident, even wrote letters to his lawyer. Jeffery was born locally; never mind, the claim was not he was an “anchor” baby – capable in awarding his parents officially to become United States residents.
When someone mentions immigrants, I always summon up Oscar’s face and his family’s. I read. I know that 57,000 children have slipped into this country; they come from Guatemala and other Central American nations. How do I feel about them? They’re not going to be all in Oscar’s image. Reflecting the population of the United States, I read about Latinos wanted by law enforcement for drinking, doing drugs and stealing. Occasionally, they do something horrific like natural-born U.S. citizens do.
My family came on this side of the Atlantic long before there were officials meant to deter them. In those early days, citizens here encouraged immigration. There were exceptions like the Irish and blacks. July 4 is not only a famous date because of the Revolution; it marks rioting in New York City because of the universal draft that took all males during The Civil War. (Of course, the rich managed to escape by paying $100.)
The Irish found degradation, as much religious as anything else; they were Roman Catholics. Never mind that the English found them brutes anywhere, especially in the cultural and artistic dimension; they didn’t like the attitude that physical reaction was their answer to everything. Contrary-wise Brits were reluctant to settle all arguments by fists.
As for colored Americans, early colonists regarded them as no more as beasts of burden. To educate them was beyond reasoning; to this day the mobs consider blacks as inferior. This was a case of the lower class reluctantly ceding. I write this as a Negro-American sits in the Oval Office. Furthermore, his name, Barack Obama, creates more confusion. Is his middle name – Hussein – emblematic of Muslims taking over this mostly Christian nation?
We revert to Oscar Carrillo – not only because he belongs to the Christian faith. I’ve never seen him cantankerous. But his answer to all situations is peaceful. The children who take the kind of path he made don’t forgive them. But there is hue and cry that this time can’t be normal. The difference is the jobs we have that are not available south of the border.
We go back to the era when adults and children are satisfied getting into the United States peaceably; “coyotes” are no use because the people know where they want.
This is the way Oscar and Milvia approached this great country of ours. When I lived in New Orleans, I met their counterparts. Jeffery will grow up no longer doubtful of his status.