Guatemalan Maya Center

npatterson / Creative Commons

A group of Lake Worth high schoolers who call themselves the “Mayan Girls” have been working to translate important information — everything from vaccination information to hurricane awareness — into Mayan languages.

The girls mostly translate into Q’anjob’al, a language spoken primarily in the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala. It’s the most common Mayan language in Palm Beach County, where Guatemalan Mayans make up a sizable portion of Jupiter and Lake Worth’s immigrant populations.

Madeline Fox / WLRN

In Lake Worth, immigrants and the nonprofits who serve them are gearing up for rumored raids by immigration enforcement this weekend.

Some people have heard about the possible raids this weekend through the news, or from friends and neighbors.

Two high school volunteers with the Guatemalan-Maya Center are trying to spread the word even further. They sent text messages to more than 1,000 people who have come to the Center for help in the past, to let them know immigration raids are rumored this weekend.

Courtesy of the Guatemalan-Maya Center

It’s surreal for Fr. Frank O’Loughlin to see a video of a straight-faced Policarpia Gaspar Xuncax talking about the Guatemalan-Maya Center, a nonprofit serving immigrants that they co-founded in Lake Worth.

“In real life, she couldn’t make it through two sentences without laughing,” he said.

Her sense of humor and her passion for education loom large in the stories family, friends and community members tell about the woman they knew as Poli.

Phil Laubner / Catholic Relief Services

Last week President Trump threatened to close the U.S. southern border because record numbers of Central American migrants are arriving there – including 100,000 apprehended in March. “I’m not playing games,” Trump warned. “We can’t hold people anymore.”

But what’s lost in Trump’s border-security bluster is that there’s something unusual about this wave of Central American migrants. Most are not from Honduras or El Salvador. Most are instead from Guatemala. And immigrant advocates say the main force driving them to flee here is climate change.