Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sun Sentinel article: “Lake Worth students relish high tea with the Guatemalan consul”

Follow the City of Lake Worth’s Guatemalan Consul Mario René Azmitia on Facebook. The consulate is located at 1926 10th Ave. North. The phone number is 561-660-6261. See the image below for more helpful information.

But first, the curious number and statistic in the Sun Sentinel:

“15,000 Latinos live in Lake Worth, or 42 percent of the population”.

Some questions:
  • How many of the Latinos are Guatemalan?
  • Some Guatemalans don’t consider themselves Latino, what percentage is that?
  • In the 2010 Census, those reporting as “White alone” as his/her race was 60%.
  • As “Black or African American alone”? 20%.
  • For sake of comparison, is the Guatemalan population in the City of Lake Worth greater than the Haitian population? Or less?

Read more about this below and why this is important.

You may recall another recent article about our Guatemalan community in the City of Lake Worth published in the Miami Herald.

We recently learned from Miami Herald reporter Francisco Rodríguez that Guatemalan refugees and migrants here in the City of Lake Worth are being targetted by predatory lawyers, property owners charging outrageous rent for substandard, over-crowded conditions, and when it’s time for an appointment with immigration officials . . . “[T]he Guatemalan consulate, which recently opened an office in Lake Worth in Palm Beach County, also confirmed that drivers are charging between $150 and $300 for the trips.

Excerpts from the Sun Sentinel article are below. Click on image to enlarge.
“Estamos en la aperatura de un consulado de Guatemala en Lake Worth! Gracias por este apoyo para nuestras familias que antes pagaban $300 para llegar al consulado en Miami.”

[Translation: “We are at the opening of a Guatemalan Consulate in Lake Worth! Thank you for this support for our families, that before had to pay $300 to get to the consulate in Miami.”]

Here are two excerpts from the article in the Sun Sentinel by reporter Lois K. Solomon (with emphasis added):

Guatemala’s new diplomat in Palm Beach County made it clear to Lake Worth elementary school students on Monday: He is here to help their families.
     The Guatemalan government opened a consulate in Lake Worth last month to assist native Guatemalans with passports, identification cards and birth certificates so they don’t need to travel to the larger consulate in Miami.

and. . . 

     Assistant Superintendent Eddie Ruiz [South Grade Elementary in City of Lake Worth] said the district is working with each of these communities to encourage parental involvement. He said staffers focused on the Haitian community this year, with parent lessons on how to help with homework, analyze a report card and communicate with teachers.
     He said they will reach out to Guatemalan parents in a systematic way next year.
     [Mario René] Azmitia told the students he wants their families to be successful in the United States.
     “My goal as consul is to make sure anything you aspire to do, I will support you and get others to support you as well,” he said through a translator.

What’s still very unclear is how many “native Guatemalans”, refugees, and migrants are actually in the City of Lake Worth. How many of them cannot speak either English and/or Spanish but only the Mayan languages Quiché, Kanjobal, Poptí’ or Mam?

When you read the numbers in both the Miami Herald and Sun Sentinel you do not get a clear answer.

Remember, in the Sun Sentinel story is this line: “15,000 Latinos live in Lake Worth, or 42 percent of the population”. If, as reported, “Palm Beach County’s Guatemalan population is estimated at 25,000, with a big concentration in Lake Worth” — then how many Guatemalans live in what’s called the “Lake Worth Corridor” — an unincorporated, census-designated area west of the City that is referred to accurately as “Suburban Lake Worth”?

Both reporters are counting Guatemalan people that live “in Lake Worth” and those as well in the Lake Worth Corridor (and probably other cities as well: Palm Springs, Greenacres, and Lantana).

Simply put, how many Guatemalans actually live “in Lake Worth” that are in dire need of help?

Remember: Native Guatemalan migrants and refugees are indeed in a very serious crisis.

Many are vulnerable to predatory lawyers, substandard rental property, over-crowded conditions, and too many Guatemalans subject to price-gouging — especially those who cannot speak either English or Spanish — to receive the language tutoring they so desperately need how can we truly understand or fix the problem if we don’t know how many people need help and where they are located so the resources can be provided them?

Maybe the next article in the Sun Sentinel or Miami Herald will help to explain that.