The Daily Astorian asked many of those attending the visit of the Mexican Consulate staff four questions:?Who are you, where did you come from, how long have you been here and what are your expectations/dreams?

Here is a sample of responses.

Likes the small town

Ezequiel Lepe Moran, 29, moved to Astoria from Nayarit 12 years ago. He has a wife who stays home with their 2-year-old son.

Moran works for a big, local logging company full-time, year-round. He does very dangerous work, he said, cutting trees and loading them up onto trucks.

He's here in Astoria because "I like being in a small town and I don't like big cities."

Moran is happy that he's only lost about two weeks of work so far this year because of the economy. Other, smaller local logging outfits have laid off many employees, he said, and considers himself lucky to have a good job.

"My dream is to own a home here," he said. He's saved up money and he's hopeful it will be soon. Moran has only been back to Mexico twice since coming to the United States.

Health frustrations

Rosario Castro, 38, has two daughters, 18 and 10 years old, and they all moved here from Vera Cruz seven years ago. Castro lives in Warrenton and works as a fileter in a cannery there.

She's here because she thinks there's a bit more work here with the fisheries and canneries.

Castro is planning to head back to Mexico very soon because her older daughter is very sick with epilepsy. She is very frustrated with the health care her daughter has received, and thinks she has a better chance for a recovery in Mexico.

"I tried to get health care coverage for my daughter through my employer, but I missed the deadline, and then you can only sign up annually. Medical attention will be cheaper in Mexico, and we will be able to communicate better."

Castro struggles with English-speaking doctors at clinics that want to take care of her daughter with Band Aid-type solutions. She needs comprehensive care and someone to approach the situation holistically, she said.

They have many family members in Mexico and they're more or less on their own in Warrenton - Castro is a single mom.

Dreams of her house

Guadalupe Beltran is a Seaside resident who came here from Mexico City almost 10 years ago. Beltran works at Seaside Headstart and her husband is a mechanic.

She has three kids, 16, 10 and 12, and they're all attending Seaside Schools.

Beltran holds two other jobs on nights and weekends - she cleans private houses and is a housekeeper at a hotel in Cannon Beach. Together with her husband, she owns a home here and is building one in Mexico. "It's hard to do both - make the payments on my house here and send money to work on our house in Mexico. My biggest dream is to finish that house."

Her kids have a different outlook, however. They're happy here in the U.S. "My kids don't want to go back," she said. She prefers living in Seaside though for now, because Mexico City is such a big, dangerous place these days.

Learning English

Alejandra Morales and Alfredo Reyes have both been here less than a year. Lidia Venegas has been here for three years. All three are in their twenties, came to the area from Oaxaca and study English together at Clatsop Community College. Venegas has five children back in Mexico, living with her mom.

Morales has worked at a local cannery, but is not employed now. "Maybe (later)," she said, she'll find out if there's more work. Reyes has some family in the area, and he does have some work doing seeding at an oyster plant. He's hopeful more work will materialize later this year.

Even though the economy is tough here, none of them are considering heading back to Mexico, even though they wouldn't have to pay rent there. "There's the chance to earn more money here," Venegas said.

"We'll wait it out," Reyes said. They appeared to be guardedly optimistic that the economy would improve.

Studying for U.S. test

Ramon Alcantar is 49, and he and his wife have six children. The family lives in Astoria. All of the children were born in the United States, five in Los Angeles and one in Astoria.

Alcantar has lived on the North Coast 13 years. He has worked at the Costco gas station for almost 12 years. He said through an interpreter that he is studying for his citizenship test, and during the Ronald Reagan administration he was able to take advantage of the Amnesty Legislation of 1986 (which granted legal status to illegal immigrants, while cracking down on those employers who hired illegal workers) to get his amnesty legally."

Easier to find work

Angela Garcia, 25, has lived in Warrenton with her husband for seven years. They have a 2-year-old daughter. Her husband does prep work in a restaurant and she works as a housekeeper in a local hotel. They like Warrenton because it's quiet and peaceful, but they would like to return to Mexico eventually. It's easier to find work here than it is in Mexico, said Garcia, although lately they are getting fewer hours at their jobs.

They didn't know anyone in Warrenton before they moved here from California.

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