Antonio Delgado Sr. is typical of the town's small-business owners. Speaking one evening in his grown daughter's house, in the nearby town of Moxee and painted in electric shades of red and green seldom seen in the muted Northwest, the 53-year-old Delgado says he, too, was once illegal and received amnesty in the '80s. For eight years, he was a farm worker, and he put in another 10 years at an apple-packing company. Then a friend and fellow Mexican who owned two laundromats in Wapato offered to sell him one.

To buy it, Delgado got a loan from a Yakima nonprofit called Rural Community Development Resources. Founded in 1991, the organization uses federal grants to help an array of budding Latino entrepreneurs — but only ones who provide identification that they are legal residents or citizens, according to RCDR founder Luz Gutierrez.

In time, Gutierrez's organization dispensed a second loan to Delgado to start a bakery next door to the laundromat, which led him to start two more bakeries in Harrah (not so profitable and eventually closed) and Moxee.

Delgado's bakeries offer the oversize pastries favored by Mexicans: fruitcakes, cream-filled "tacos" (resembling rolled crepes), fruit turnovers that in Mexico would never hold apples but which in Washington make use of the local bounty.

Delgado's 20-year-old son, also named Antonio, works full time at the laundromat in Wapato. And though he plans to go back to school soon, he declares — even out of earshot of his parents — his intention to come right back to Wapato when he's done. "Everyone's family," he says of the town.


And that's almost literally true. Mayor Jesse Farias, 65, is surrounded in town by nine of his 11 siblings. The grandchild of Mexican immigrants who grew up in a section of town then called "Tortilla Flats," he signed up for the military during the Vietnam War. "I thought there had to be a better life," he explains in Wapato's one-story, brick city hall.

There was — at least for a while, he says, but he eventually lost both legs in the war. Out of the military and consigned to a wheelchair, he moved to Olympia. He worked for many years at the state's Employment Security department, then received two gubernatorial appointments, one of which made him the state director of the Department of Veteran Affairs.

In 1999, he returned to Wapato, where he became mayor in 2004.

Why did he trade the state capital for a town one-tenth its size? "This is my home," he says. "I'll always come back."

Similarly, Lorenzo Alvarado, son of a Mexican farm worker and a school principal in nearby Yakima, counts five of his seven siblings as neighbors in Wapato. His wife, a Mexican native, has family in town, too.

Every weekend, Alvarado says, there's some kind of family event: "a barbecue, a birthday party, a quinceañera."

"All the culture I need is here," he says.

Flores, of WSU, says he believes immigrants' ongoing love affair with the valley has kept its housing market afloat. As real estate values tanked in the rest of the country, the valley's stayed relatively stable. Local home prices even rose during one of the worst points of the recession last summer. At the time, ABC's Good Morning America (citing figures from Seattle's Zillow.com) referred to Yakima County as one of the best places in the nation to sell a home.

And to buy one, too. The median price for houses (excluding new construction) is $147,000, according to WSU's Washington Center for Real Estate Research. Those prices have been accessible to many of the region's immigrants, says realtor Hernandez, who estimates that his clientele is 90 percent Hispanic.

Paul Regimbal, president of the Catholic Credit Union in Yakima, says that his business is targeting Latino customers as part of its strategic plan for growth. He notes that many Catholic Hispanics naturally gravitate toward his company, which was originally set up as a cooperative for Catholics in the valley but now serves all faiths. The credit union builds on that affinity by advertising in Spanish-language newspapers and on TV and radio stations.

"Any business that is not wrapping their arms around the facts in this valley is missing the boat," Regimbal says. By "facts," he means Hispanic immigrants. "These folks are here. They pay their bills. They're not going away."

In the years since 9/11, and even more so following the mortgage crash, many financial institutions effectively have made it harder for illegal immigrants to get loans and accounts by requiring a valid Social Security number. The USA Patriot Act required banks to more stringently verify a customer's identity to prevent money-laundering by potential terrorists.

The Patriot Act, though, doesn't specifically require customers to prove their legal status, allowing them to authenticate their identity with what the Internal Revenue Service calls an "individual taxpayer identification number," which one can obtain without a Social Security number. That suffices for the Catholic Credit Union. Regimbal says it's simply not his company's job to delve into immigration matters.

Hernandez says that's another reason the credit union is popular with the Hispanic community. Even so, he says, the rule-tightening in the industry overall is partly to blame for the significant drop-off in business he has seen over the past couple of years. Whereas he once handled approximately 10 transactions a month, he now does about half that.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
75 comments
ex supporter of illegal aliens
ex supporter of illegal aliens

Why couldn't he have done this in Mexico?

When will Mexicans learn that until they fix their own country, it will only be a 3rd-world cesspool who, at best, can illegally export illegal drugs and humans as their only contribution to the world?

Blah
Blah

Ted you are rude and your rantings make you sound like a hate monger. I am glad for this man that he is an exception of all of our conceived notions of the American dream that hardly anyone really and truly meets. Why can illegals have rights and not felons (that are citizens)that have served their time? Is the poor man smoking crack any differnt from the colleges kids experimenting with coke? Many would say yes there is a differnce but it is how we perceive deviant behavior. It is against the laws and many problems come from illegals, for example higher insurance, higher medical bills etc. I hope that I do not have to explain the reason why to you. What gets me worse of all is the people that hire them for 2 dollars an hour. Yeah no one born here wants to be paid that. As a citizen we have the right to make a decent wage to live on. The on coming of illegal people taking jobs that should have higher wages hurt all of the citizens here. Hard work should be rewarded with a decent pay but people who own farms and companies know they can get away with breaking people backs for nothing to pinch a profit. I think they are the true criminals! The illegals that come here end up living in tight corridors and hardly making it. When a person's nessicities are not met what do they do? They turn to crime to make ends meet. Drugs grow rapid to dull the pain. If you do not think this is true go live in a "ghetto" for awhile. I am offended by the "white thinking" that was spotted off here. What does that mean by the way can someone explain? I love the fact the people love to say white people have no culture. Well have you ever picked up a book on different cultures? Do you realize all the differences of beliefs and myths from one European culture to the next. EVERY PERSON REGUARDLESS OF COLOR HAS A HISTORY THAT IS INTERESTING!!! I hate to point it out but that is very racist thinking on the part of Chuy631.His thinking only fuels the problems. I could even go on about his racist rant and surely assume he is an uneducated dip shit but I wont.

Ted
Ted

Actually it is you who should shut your arrogant, ill mannered, insolent, hate mongering trap, Azwoman50. We will not miss your lunatic ramblings!

Ted
Ted

Who is forcing you to read all these "mexican" stories that so upset your racist ass SanTanMom? You crybaby racebaiters are some of the stupidest people I've ever had the displeasure to hear rant. You're just like the morons complaining about content on television, aren't you smart enough to just change the channel or turn off the TV? Truly a sad example of the human species with all your bitching and moaning.

Ted
Ted

Did Glenn Beck tell you that, Terry? Perhaps you should actually investigate Mexican laws for yourself. But you probably won't be capable unless your grasp of spanish is better than your demonstrated english usage capabilities.

Ted
Ted

Wow Dufus03 you just keep demonstrating your severely limited brain function. How would all illegals leaving pull us out of the recession? As far as them collecting welfare, you listen to way too much Glenn Beck and Rush, doughboy, Limpaugh, it's completely rotted what little you had previously in your brainpan. Perhaps one day you will investigate those specious claims by that pair of liars to discover they made it all up. And as far as stealing jobs, you will have a very hard time finding a job in any type job market when a prospective employer hears the lunacy you spout. There just aren't that many of you racist clowns in the human resource departments of America.

Ted
Ted

Your handle certainly fits your simpleminded thought process. So tell us Dufus03 just how did you earn your "right" to live and work here? Specificity please Mr Dufus03.

Chuy631
Chuy631

u know what all of u r a stup ppl that just think like white asses !! we make ur ffod we pay for ur work n everything stupis u see when we r gone u se mdfkrs

Damnbeaners
Damnbeaners

This man should go to jail! Just think what would have happened to him is he went into China or anyother country for that matter...ooooo the cost he would have paid. If you love America, inter her "legaly"!!!

Ted
Ted

Damnbeaners, your handle gives you away as a complete hater who is nothing but a professional leech. This gentleman took over an orchard that he was able to pay for with his hard work. People like you don't know the meaning of hard work. You feel entitled because your white, but what matters in America is hard work and support for your fellow man, not your racist hate!

None
None

fuck you

K_cay
K_cay

This article portrays being illegal is justified because in the end, you could end up owning the land that most Americans would not work on. That is BS! With one success story like this, there are thousands who are violating the law. Just like this guy above, he had a traffic violation, it did not specify but he could have had someone hurt during the incident. This guy has no clue of what the law is and that he should be following it. Why was he driving? He should not be driving because he does not have a drivers license!!!

Carlos
Carlos

It seems that every time someone decides to write an article about an immigrant succeding tempers flare, envy? , he made it ,clear and simply, about his traffic violation, I agree it was bad, but then again he was punished by been deported, what do you people expect? life sentence? or what, it is clear that there was a spot made for him, if not he would not have succeded, right? why is it that Hispanics are growing among the profession of agriculture? mere coincidence? nope, no one else wants to do it or cannot do it, so please take your heads out of you know where and start taking all those marvelous opportunities that are out there so no one else can take them, specially illegals

Godblessthezsa
Godblessthezsa

People who say "illegal is illegal" have small minds.

Damnbeaners
Damnbeaners

Ok illegal is legal then... happy now? Idiot!!!!!!!

Ted
Ted

Well Damnbeaners, your so right, if your part of the Bush/Cheney crime gang. That is exactly the way they treated the American people. For that gang of criminal conspirators black was white, up was down and illegal was totally legal. Witness Cheney outing a working undercover CIA agent to spite her husband. A completely treasonous act by the then Vice President of the United States, if you didn't realize it, but then those criminals were able to make acts of torture that we hanged Japanese officers for after WW II just another US policy in their war on terror. Not to mention the illegal wiretapping of the entire US population in violation of FISA. You would have fit in perfectly with that criminal gang beaner!

gypsydave
gypsydave

Maybe,... but we believe in laws. (unlike folks that wanna break the law and be rewarded for it) SCREW YOU!!!

Terry
Terry

What is it that no one but rational people seem to understand that illegal is just that - illegal means that someone has broken the law!!! Get in line & we shall welcome you with open arms, but if you break the law by entering America illegally, you are a law-breaker. Have you ever looked at how people who enter Mexico illegally are treated? They go to jail!!!!!!!

Prosb1070
Prosb1070

The New Times is nothing more than a libtard driven propaganda machine. I might ad a very untalented one at that.

AZWOMAN50
AZWOMAN50

WHAT A CROCK OF SHIT-THIS ASS HOLE OWES BACK TAXES FROM THE TIME HE FIRST SET FOOT ILLEGALLY IN MY COUNTRY

Ted
Ted

Stop your shouting your dimwit twit. You don't know anything about the taxes he's paid and beyond that I'd be willing to bet that you probably owe quite a bit in back taxes yourself since you seem to be another of the tea party tax protesters. You folks claim to only be upset with illegals, yet you're foaming at the mouth screaming about this legal immigrant's taxes about which you my sweet gentle twink could know nothing. And I admittedly know nothing of yours, I just extrapolate out from your blatantly obvious Tea party affiliation sweets.

Hernandez Elisamaria
Hernandez Elisamaria

You say "my country." Are you a member of a Native American tribe? I am; so this is my country and if you are Anglo, you are the descendant of illegal immigrants.

Apophis
Apophis

Way to go, showing your intelligence by your choice of words. Racism is such an ugly beast.

This country was made by immigrants. There is no such thing as American. The real Americans are the natives, the ones living in indian reserves in places such as Arizona. To the native indians, YOU are the illegal immigrant. YOUR ANCESTORS came in from England and wiped 75% of the native population out with the transfer of numerous, previously unknown diseases.

Educate yourself before you make yourself sound like an idiot.

You should be flattered that people want to move into your country, it shows that your country is good. But people like you ruin things for everybody. Its that type of mentality that regresses human kind, it reverses human progression. We cannot evolve for the better, with so many ignorant people.

People co-existed better without boundaries. The creation of boundaries created a lot of tension. There was once a day where people rode on horses and just travelled to far away places in search of a better home. Now a days, if you dont have a piece of paper from the government (the same government that wants to screw you) you cannot make a better life for yourself.

Give me a break.

Dufus03
Dufus03

The reason there are boundaries around each country is because they were fought for and won. If my country is doing so good that people feel the need to enter it illegally then I should maintain the right to kick them out...What did they do in my country that made it so good? Nothing!! They just snuck across a border. I don't feel "blessed" because someone likes my country well enough to enter it illegally...what kind of crap is that? I feel blessed because I live here and work, and I earned my right to do so.

Ted
Ted

Your handle certainly fits your simpleminded thought process. So tell us Dufus03 just how did you earn your "right" to live and work here? Specificity please Mr Dufus03.

jrich
jrich

this is why everybody hates america for racist son of bitches who hate on everybody. see if all illegals left seriously i would doubt america would be anything at all. HATERS THIS DAYS

Dufus03
Dufus03

If all the illegals left, we would be able to pull out of our economic recession. No more illegals collecting welfare and stealing jobs! What an awesome idea! Attention all illegals please feel free to demonstrate you disgust of America by leaving!!

AZWOMAN50
AZWOMAN50

I SAY PROVE IT---------GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ALREADY

Silfren
Silfren

Get over yourself. Not everyone who disagrees with you or calls you out for being racist is an illegal. I'm a native born citizen of the U.S. and I can smell your racist shit from a hundred miles off.

Lemme guess. Because I don't hate immigrants the way you do, you're going to tell me to GTFO out of "your" country, too, aren't ya?

SanTanMom
SanTanMom

Is the idea that if they run enough of these stories we are going to miraculously decide that illegal immigration is one of the best things to ever happen to America?

I am tired of being force-fed these "wonderful Mexican" "poor Mexican" "sad Mexican child" "hard working Mexican" stories. Come here LEGALLY and we will welcome you with open arms. If you come here illegally we think it is time for you to leave. We've been pretty polite about it, I think. SB1070 is just our way of nicely saying THE PARTY IS OVER...GO HOME!

Ted
Ted

Who is forcing you to read all these "mexican" stories that so upset your racist ass SanTanMom? You crybaby racebaiters are some of the stupidest people I've ever had the displeasure to hear rant. You're just like the morons complaining about content on television, aren't you smart enough to just change the channel or turn off the TV? Truly a sad example of the human species with all your bitching and moaning.

gypsydave
gypsydave

I like the way you think and express yourself. Good on ya. Gypsy Dave.

Silfren
Silfren

Unfortunately, this is not true. Even legal immigrants are regarded with suspicion. Far, FAR too many people see a dark-skinned person and immediately default to "OMG ILLEGAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" without even bothering to check their facts first.

Elisamaria Hernandez
Elisamaria Hernandez

I don't understand why you would talk about coming here LEGALLY. I am Native American and KNOW that Anglos came here ILLEGALLY and brought crime with them and drugs (alcohol) with them and ruined a beautiful way of life for my ancestors. Unless you are Native American, stop talking like you are here LEGALLY. You are the children of illegals and you rant against the very issue that allowed you to be U.S. citizens. You continue to destroy lives just as your ancestors once did.

Chris
Chris

a beautiful way of life??? Sure, there are positive aspects to most cultures, but there's no need to glorify your ignorant, naïve and savage past... it is the Anglo influence that has resulted in Natives with the greatest opportunities to excel and succeed within a civilized and free society. You can choose to live as your ancestors (as long as it doesn’t break civilized laws), embrace the good fortune of your Anglo associations and the opportunities laid before your feet on a silver platter, or devote your life to fire water. Either way, the opportunities, freedoms and standards of living for Native Americans is much better than any of their southern counterparts… You are welcome!

Ted
Ted

You sir are one dumbass racist pig, talking like that to a native American. Better watch out there tough guy picking on women. That bullying behavior is not appreciated by many. What an complete ass!

Hernandez Elisamaria
Hernandez Elisamaria

Chris, if you know any history, you understand that the Anglos who came here illegally in the 17th and 18th centuries were "savages" too. They did not have 20th and 21st century creations and inventions. The Native Americans showed them how to survive -- remember Native peoples taught the Anglos how to plant the foods that would keep them alive here in this country and Native peoples taught Anglos what game to hunt for survival. Do you think that we Native Americans would not have developed our own civilizations had your ancestors not killed off most of our ancestors? You obviously know little about Native Americans in this country. Go to a reservation and then tell me about the standard of living for Native Americans. As for the freedoms we are so lucky to have, just remember that this country gave us the "right" to vote with the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 yet Utah did not grant that right until 1956 and many states overtly did not allow us to vote even though the act was passed. In fact, New Mexico, a state with a large Native American population refused to let Native peoples vote until 1962. Now that is what I call behaving in an uncivilized, yes savage manner. Read your history before you make any comments because you end up showing the same ignorance that probably contributed to the lack of civility that your ancestors used in dealing with Native peoples.

AZWOMAN50
AZWOMAN50

YOU ARE A CONQUERED PEOPLE-SHUT UP

Hernandez Elisamaria
Hernandez Elisamaria

AZWOMAN50, remember that those who conquer can be conquered. You will become "a conquered people" too because despite what you say or do, this country continues to become a nation of people of color. You are struggling against something which is inevitable -- yes, legal people of color are mounting in numbers and you will soon be in the minority and conquered -- now you SHUT UP!

brownie1
brownie1

No, No, No!!! Us, USA Hispanics, know without a doubt, that you are telling the whole truth!!!! You are hiring illegal people from Mexico who WILL work for beans!!! When they are old, handicap, et....are you prepared to pay their pensions, medical services, etc...."Oh, no, the county and the state will provide them with medial, dental, vision, et...benefits...Look homeboy! You yourself are robbing our U.S. Governments in loopholes. Please tell the public reading your article that the rest is left to food stamps, medical, vision, possibly false SSI#'s, etc.......sooner or later, you will see the abuses towards our country, lies which have put our nation into bandruptcy, the list goes on and on....I hope you are not giving advice to illegals, or those who became legal because of lies to our government....Don't tell me anything, but there is a GOD who is looking at you; I hope you have a conscience, why??? because we do have willing Americans who want a job, but they also are entitled to benefits which our U.S. Congress made into LAW. Oh, please do not think you are a movie star because you are in the newspaper. ABE LINCOLN, I believe said sometime ago to the extent, You may fool all the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people some of the time...something to that extent, catch my drift homeboy???

Karmattattoos
Karmattattoos

You can fool some people some times, but you cant fool all the people all the time.If you cant even Google that to check your facts , how do you expect us to take the rest of your ignorant rant seriously.

GringoJalapeno
GringoJalapeno

Why so negative? If this Mexican guy hadn't bought the family farm, it would no longer be a family farm. He sounds like a better neighbor and citizen than many of the white people in my neighborhood. .. and the rest of us here are so legal? If we are not native american, we are just older illegals here.

realrezzzzyy
realrezzzzyy

native americans never "owned" land they didnt even know the concept until europeans brought it..uh..in fact the spanish not english. so before you go condeming "whites" for the colonization of america,check history first maybe one should look back at the history of mexico and it's founding along with the philippines and others as for "we are just older illegals here" there was no system in place nor a government and if you asked a native american if he is concerned about the present immigration problem he would say yes.because it allows more illegals to take jobs so natives have even more of a struggle.so the native american/race thing dont fly..espeacily with a rez dog and veteran..like me!

brownie1
brownie1

Yeah, does he/she tell you that they steal U.S. citizen's license plate sticKer, for $20, dissuade an enforcement officer frome a highly cost driving citation!!!!! You think that is cool????? I dare you to face law enforcement. There are many, many Americans who will gladly turn you in to the AMERICAN Authorities for saying that. I dare you?????

PObox348
PObox348

Look HOMEBOY!!! Just who do you think you are talking to???Some dumm??? ILLEGAL means just that ILLEGAL!!!! YOU think it is funny that when someone takes off from work to buy the CALIFAS license plate sticker for $20 from a thief who stole it from a legit, thinks it is funny because he/she thinks it is "COOL." You should go to law school and really learn the Law. I think you would change your mind about many things. I am glad that we are advised to use a razor blade and make cuts on our DMV annual sticker, WITH OUR $$$$

Karmattattoos
Karmattattoos

Just one question , Where is the "thief" from ? is he an "illegal" or is he a "Native born"?because it seems that you are taking quite a lot for granted , and how do you know that all stolen license plate stickers are from legit users? are "illegals" the only criminals in your great nation?

Bruno
Bruno

You only had to travel over one thousand miles from Arizona to find the best illegal immigrant success story for a town? Nice work! Almost as unbiased as Fox News, but not quite.

Guest
Guest

i wish people would get off the immigration band wagon no one has a problem with immigration! it's ILLEGAL immigration mexican or anyother that is the problem! if you are ILLEGALY in this country you are a criminal and should be treated as such. funny how news media plays the word games using "immigration" instead of "ILLEGAL imigration" and the words "immigrant" instead of "ILLEGAL ALIEN" . disinformation and deceitful use of terms to swing public opinion..as an x ranger i know full well the tools used and won't be taken in by such antics I hope the rest of the citizens of this country are smart enough to see through the B.S. but....I doubt it!

1stGen
1stGen

What a horrible thing to be indoctrinated for assimilation into an American way that breeds fear, the catalyst for anger; which destroys peace, love and hope. God bless America.

Juxtalon
Juxtalon

This man needs to be stoned , hung and stoned some more. They wan the US to be mexico. They dont want to be us americans

 
Phoenix Concert Tickets
Loading...