Skip to comments.O.C. family returns to a violence-plagued Mexico
Posted on 11/13/2011 8:21:17 AM PST by Pelham
Grace Castro should have joined her friends in August for her first year at Newport Beach's prestigious Sage Hill School. Instead, she's mourning the death of a schoolmate abducted from her Mexican private school by kidnappers who gouged out the teenager's eyes before killing him. Grace's life in her newly adopted home in drug-war-plagued Acapulco is a far cry from her childhood about 2,200 miles away in a yellow Craftsman house in the heart of Santa Ana. After 15 years in the United States, a family illness, unemployment and growing hostility toward illegal immigration compelled her family to make a change. Like many immigrant families in the United States, Alejandro and Berenice Castro and their eldest daughter, Michelle, lived in the country illegally; Grace, 14, and her younger sister, Alexis, 13, are U.S.-born citizens. The Castros thought a move to Acapulco would provide them with a new start, a reunion with family and was the right decision based on their circumstances. They were wrong. "This is not the Mexico I left 15 years ago," Alejandro Castro said, his eyes growing distant and misty. "It was beautiful, folkloric ... peaceful, cordial. The community was friendly. The faith was strong. It's no longer like this." They found that violence and suspicion infest the streets. Neighbors are wary of one another. And almost daily, local newspapers splash grisly photos on the front page of dismembered bodies of kidnapping victims mirroring the family's worst fears.
LIFE IN SANTA ANA
In the damp basement they now call home, the Castro family huddled together on a couch, illuminated overhead by a single, purple-tinged fluorescent bulb, to reflect on the changes in their lives. In 1995, Alejandro and Berenice and their then-1-year-old daughter, Michelle, set up roots in Orange County after crossing the border illegally.
(Excerpt) Read more at ocregister.com ...
“The turning point came when Berenice’s mother in Acapulco fell ill with cancer. It was a sign to Alejandro and Berenice that moving to Mexico to be close to family could be a solution to their problems.
The girls resisted the move and lived in denial those last few months, telling friends they’d most likely be around for the coming school year. Instead, they ended up packing in a last-minute whirlwind.
Whatever the family couldn’t sell, they gave away, leaving behind only a planter and a betta fish named Snowflake. Berenice’s sister, Karla Quezada, moved in and took over the mortgage payments.
“It was a very difficult decision and it continues to be that way,” Berenice said.
ADAPTING TO MEXICAN LIFE
In Mexico, nobody can pronounce Grace’s name. Administrators at Michelle’s private school refused to accept some of her U.S.-earned grades, forcing her back a year. Alexis can’t speak about her new life without breaking into tears.
A year later, the Castro family is still adjusting to life in Acapulco.
Grace, the middle child, is the most vocal about her new home, much to the chagrin of her mother, who grew up in Acapulco.
“If they told me we’re moving I wouldn’t even pack,” Grace said. “I’d just go.”
No one ever asks the question what has easy access to the United States cost Mexico?
Would Mexico be in the condition it is in today if we had locked down our borders, and made it more difficult for those that crossed illegally to stay?
The citizens of Mexico need to fix their own country. The United States can help but we can not fix it for them.
I have said here time and again that if the Mexican people would put just half the energy into fixing their country that they do into destroying ours then perhaps someday Mexico would be a Mexicans wouldn’t have to run away from.
Obviously, this article was based in pure emotion, and little in the way of facts.
If Mexico was such a paradise 15 years ago, then why did they enter the US illegally? Wouldn’t they have preferred the paradise?
I once read a very persuasive opinion piece about the effects on Mexico of allowing illegal immigration to continue unchecked. The opinion was that our leniency towards illegal immigration allows the Mexican government to remain corrupt, by acting as a pressure valve. If we were more proactive about reducing illegal immigration, those unhappy citizens would be pressuring their government to clean up its act. The result would be a better Mexico.
The corruption in Mexico is so ingrained in the population that I am not sure it could ever be changed. Every public official has their hand out and when they get paid off, their wives come out and ask for money. That is business as usual.
Their are arguments both ways about this, and probably some truth both sides: Mexico loses human capital because some of its most ambitious citizens emigrate (legally and illegally) to the US, but these immigrants remit large amounts of capital back to Mexico - if you travel in rural Mexico you can pretty much figure out from things like which house has a new roof which families are receiving such remittances.
In some very fundamental ways this exchange makes sense, demographically the US is going to have an increasing need for young immigrants, and at the family level many Mexicans are starved for capital, though of course the way in which this exchange currently occurs occurs is ill-conceived and poor managed.
But even with all the current problems the US is much better off than the parts of Europe which had the look to Islamic countries for the same labor force - many Mexican immigrants may be poorly educated and have some values that create problems integrating into American society, but the cultural gap is much narrower than for Islamic immigrants in Western European countries.
And on the whole they want to integrate; for example Mexican immigrants are learning English at a faster rate than most previous immigrant groups.
I recall seeing some of the first Mexicanized places in Santa Ana and Costa Mesa a couple of years before that. 'Bout twisted my head off as I snapped back to look: the Mestizo colors on a building, purple and green, the rundown stucco.
Blew my mind to see it there. Not the Orange County of Walt Disney and Knotts Berry Farm.
Would be great if they really did leave, but this is a dream. Only a few will go. The rest will hang on desperately, draining California of welfare money, doing anything to stay - until the freebies run out. Which will be never, because they will be voting to keep them going.
And they will teach their children to be Mexicans. And so perpetuate the extortion, the intimidation, the nightmare that is Mexico.
And so California will become that place. The once beautiful and serene jewel in the American crown, Southern California...now the California Nightmare, not the California Dream.
Perry’s and Newt’s natural constituents.
Mexico is only a paradise for the elites, like the family that Jeb Bush married into. It’s the class that many of our national politicians associated with when they effectively decided to dissolve the border.
Bunk. We need to re-criminalize abortion and stop making it difficult for Americans to have children because of taxes and mass immgration.
The Americans have no need for the castoff children of Mexico.
If the American populace were to shrink naturally because of fewer children, what of it? There is no "need" for "young immigrants", especially with massive unemployment.
America was built for the Americans and "their posterity" as it points out in the Declaration. Not Mexico and its posterity...that's their problem, and they have land and resources to make it. They don't need or deserve ours.
That transformation has happened to large parts of north Orange County. Average American neighborhoods change over quickly. Mexico has a strong culture and assimilation is optional.
“No one ever asks the question what has easy access to the United States cost Mexico?”
One cost is Mexican laborers abandoning the wife back in Mexico and taking a new one up here. The new wife has a kid and then the illegal alien parents have themselves an anchor baby, the ticket to a regular jackpot of taxpayer provided money.
I had that exact same thought.
So you left the paradise of Mexico for the racist U.S.? What noble people, leaving behind the wonder of their native land to show us gringos "The Way."
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