The tens of thousands of Guatemalan Mayans living quietly throughout the region generally avoid attention because they fear getting deported. They seldom report crimes and hold off going to hospitals. Most don’t vote and stay clear of politics.
They know little English. And, contrary to popular belief, many are not native Spanish speakers. They speak Indian languages that can further isolate them from the larger Latino communities in the U.S.
Yet Guatemalan Mayans are everywhere in Palm Beach County. They cut grass on suburban lawns, replace roofs in housing developments, and load bags in grocery stores. Many live in trailers and apartments on the county’s main roads. They send their children to public schools.