Read the whole story in the LA Times . Here’s a commentary on it at Vdare here.
With two teenage daughters at home and triplets still in diapers, Angela Magdaleno’s family overflowed from a one-bedroom apartment in South Los Angeles that they strained to afford…
On July 6, Magdaleno gave birth to two boys and two girls, drawing national media attention as a bewildered mother of 10 (with nine living at home). Now, she and her husband, Alfredo Anzaldo, 44, must figure out how to provide for everyone on Anzaldo’s maximum pay of $400 a week as a carpet installer…
Both Magdaleno and Anzaldo are illegal immigrants, settled for years in an immigrant enclave. Magdaleno has the same number of children as her parents, who were peasant farmers in Mexico. Like her parents, she is living in poverty and struggling to provide for her family.
“It’s not sweet,” said her 36-year-old sister, Alejandra. “It’s very sad. The life for girls back there in Mexico is the same as the one Angela has now. They marry and have children, and that’s their lives.”
Neither Magdaleno nor her husband speaks English, though she has been in the United States 22 years and he 28. Even her teenage daughters speak mostly Spanish; their English vocabulary is limited.
Yet all of Magdaleno’s 10 children are U.S. citizens. The triplets receive subsidized school lunches. All the youngsters have had their healthcare bills covered by Medi-Cal, the state and federal healthcare program for the poor.
Alfredo Jr. had been hospitalized all his life until recently. He’s had three state-funded brain operations and will require several more, the family said. The couple receive $700 in monthly Social Security payments to help with his medical needs.
“I thank this country that they gave me Medi-Cal,” Magdaleno said. “There’s nothing like that in Mexico.”
Magdaleno’s existence contrasts sharply with that of her younger siblings, who followed her to Los Angeles but then left. They have settled in Lexington, Ky., had no more than two children each and built better lives than they had known before. Four bought houses. Their children speak English fluently.
Magdaleno’s sisters struggle in vain to understand her. “She still thinks like people in Mexico — that’s what I think,” said her 38-year-old sister, Justina. “You have to think first of your living children instead of thinking of having more.”
Magdaleno struggles to explain. She said she was wearing a birth-control patch to keep from getting pregnant, then took it off when it made her nauseated.
“I didn’t want any more children,” said Magdaleno, who used fertility drugs to conceive the triplets but said she did not use them in the case of the quadruplets…
Joanna, Magdaleno’s oldest daughter, now 20, dropped out of high school and moved out with a boyfriend about the time Magdaleno became pregnant with the triplets. She now works in a factory making dolls for Disneyland, her mother said.
As Angela was having children, her siblings were undergoing a transformation of a different kind. They were slowly leaving Los Angeles.
Her sister Alejandra was the first to leave. In Los Angeles, she and her husband were barely able to make ends meet.
Eight years ago, she and her family moved to Kentucky, where a friend said there was more work and were fewer Mexican immigrants bidding down the wages for unskilled jobs.
In Kentucky, Alejandra picked tobacco. The work was hard and she didn’t know the language. But soon, life improved. Over the years, she invited her siblings to join her. One sister married a man who managed a Golden Corral, a chain of all-you-can-eat buffets. Soon several Magdaleno siblings were working in Golden Corrals. Their husbands found work installing windows and as farm-labor contractors. They went to night school to learn English because few people in Lexington speak Spanish.
Kentucky is now their promised land, and they talk about California the way they used to talk about Mexico.
“What we weren’t able to do in many years in California,” Alejandra said, “we’ve done quickly here.
“We’re in a state where there’s nothing but Americans. The police control the streets. It’s clean, no gangs. California now resembles Mexico — everyone thinks like in Mexico. California’s broken.”
In Lexington, she said, “at the school there are just people who speak English. It’s helped my children a lot.”
Justina, who came to the U.S. with Magdaleno, applied for legal residency under the 1986 amnesty law and is now a U.S. citizen. Magdaleno never applied.
Last year… she sent her daughter, Kelly, 17, to Kentucky for several months. Though American born and raised, Kelly hadn’t been outside South Los Angeles.
In Lexington, school was hard because few people spoke Spanish, and the city “barely had one Spanish radio station,” Kelly said.
Her cousins, she said in English, “use more educational words than here. My cousin is 7 years old, and he has a better reading level than me. He don’t see picture books or drawings or anything like that. He just likes books with pure letters.”
Girls from Mexican-immigrant families in Kentucky, she saw, were in their mid-20s and still didn’t have children.
“I said, ‘Damn, that’s weird,’ ” Kelly said. “The girls right here in Los Angeles are like in Mexico. There are girls that are 14, they got kids.”
The family in Kentucky “is more in the United States than” her mother, Kelly concluded. “They want a better education for the kids. With less kids there’s better possibility of you having something.”
“She didn’t do this on purpose,” said Dr. Kathryn Shaw, who delivered the couple’s triplets and their quadruplets. “She was not at all elated, and not excited about the fact that they were quadruplets.”
All are healthy, Shaw said, but weighed between 3 and 4 pounds at birth. They remained at White Memorial Medical Center in East Los Angeles long enough to gain weight, then came home this week.
Now Denise, Destiny, Andrew and Andrey are with the rest of the family.
For Angela Magdaleno, their arrival — 22 years after she left Mexico and entered the United States hoping for a different life — has brought her full circle. Her older daughters, like girls in Mexico, have been drafted into helping raise the new children.
“I don’t have anything,” she said. “Just children.”
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