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"I've had any number of people talk about violence, gangs, drugs in their countries. I think a lot of people are fleeing that," Horstman says. Our Lady of Guadalupe, 1228 E. Eighth St., is the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese's parish tailored to the cultures of Mexico and Central America. There are about 400 families registered in the parish, says Father Justin Wachs, Our Lady of Guadalupe pastor. However, he is sure about a thousand families actually belong to the parish. That the majority don't register is in keeping with a mindset of illegal immigrants to never draw attention to themselves.

He and others who deal with Sioux Falls' immigrant populations walk a tight ethical line. Their default position is to not inquire into the immigration status of those they come in contact with.

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Jacky Van Loh was Everilda Marroquin in 1999, a 26 year old mother of five ranging in age from 9 years to six months, and their lives had come to a desperate pass.

Jerry Van Loh describes it as living a lie all Converse Black Womens 8.5

Sister Janet Horstman hears countless versions of this story. She is among the Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen who came to Sioux Falls about a decade ago to begin a Hispanic ministry, Caminando Juntos Walking Together.

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"We don't pursue it unless they ask about our immigration services specifically," says Multi Cultural Center director Christy Nicolaisen. "That's a person's business. That's how it should be."

says children show up often. "Maybe they are the cousins of people who are already here," he says. "You ask them how long they are going to be here and 'well, we're going to stay awhile. We like it here.'

At Our Lady of Guadalupe, Wachs Youth Converse All Star Hi Sneaker Optical White

Van Loh's effort to save her family is a theme that resonates today in the lives of illegal immigrants, according to Horstman. But now there's more than just poverty.

She owned a small restaurant that served the workforce of a Guatemalan banana plantation. When a hurricane destroyed the plantation, the company replanted the land with palms, a biofuel feedstock. Their cultivation and harvesting required only a fraction of the workers needed to operate the banana plantation. Marroquin found herself without a livelihood, with parents and siblings only marginally better off economically than she was, and with the fathers of her children unwilling or unable to support them.

However, when someone approaches him seeking work as a custodian or gardener, it becomes more difficult. "Here's where it becomes more difficult," he acknowledges. Converse All Star Womens Sports Direct

´╗┐From Guatemala to Sioux Falls

Humanitarian crisis on border eludes political solution

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So far this year, more than 50,000 children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have been intercepted by Border Patrol agents. next year, according to Sen. John Thune. He, Sen. Tim Johnson and Rep. Kristi Noem agree this is an humanitarian crisis that begs for a solution from Congress and President Obama. and become members of a society where there is adequate food, the opportunity for education and employment and where gangs of narcotics traffickers don't drag the next generation into their business or kill those who refuse to join.

"It pulls at your heartstrings. Here is someone in need. How do I provide for them?

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"There was just no money there," says her husband, Jerry Van Loh, a Sioux Falls native. "If she would have stayed, she would have had to take one or two of her children to the river and drown them. beckoned. Marroquin was from a large family. She had brothers in California and South Dakota. But joining them legally would have taken Converse Trainers Sale Junior years if it was possible at all, and she had no idea how to even go about starting immigration proceedings. southern border.

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Once here, as someone without legal employment status, she worked brutal hours for meager pay in menial jobs to earn money to send home to support her children. Some of the people who were housing those children stole money from her at every turn.

It is not a perfect solution, though. As the pastor of a Hispanic parish, Wachs says he occupies an important social position. He's been asked to bless automobiles, babies and new mothers. Parish members have sought his opinion on whom they should marry. Recently, the violence tearing apart Central American countries has resonated in Sioux Falls. Two people asked Wachs to pray for family members at home who were murdered. "It's a very real thing," he says.

day, every day. This began the transition from Everilda Marroquin to Jacky Van Loh. She steadfastly refused to seek government benefits. A friend told her "work, Jacky, work. The first time you take money, you have a record."

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"In Sioux Falls, you can get around fairly easily and be undocumented. You can do lawn care and house cleaning. Those are ways to make money and stay under the radar screen."

Wachs says he will not put the parish or the diocese in jeopardy by doing anything illegal to hide someone's immigrant status or offer them regular employment. "If I ask someone to do lawn work, I'll give them $20, just as I would do for an Anglo teen. I have no problem with that," Wachs says.

Jacky Van Loh's journey began when she left Guatemala and illegally crossed the border into Arizona. citizen. It amounts to flinging them hopefully toward a life featuring something better than grinding poverty and violent death in their home countries, based on little more than fervent belief in vague promises from illegal transporters that if the children can reach this country they can stay.

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"I thought it was the only way to get up here," she says.

"They are always looking over their shoulder," Horstman says. "If the police pick them up for having a tail light out or running a stop sign, or any little infraction where they encounter law enforcement, there is always the possibility they will end up in immigration custody and be deported. It is a very insecure and tense kind of life."

For two months, she made her way from Guatemala and up Mexico. She washed clothes and cooked for other illegal immigrants. The night the coyote finally took them across the border, she ran into an electric fence and suffered scratches that subsequently became infected and left her sick for two months. A brother who met her hit a deer and destroyed his car on their drive to California. She stayed briefly with his family, then came to Sioux Falls to join another brother.

Leaves home in 1999

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