Juan Cortes, Youth Program Coordinator. Photos provided by CASA.
| By Ana Tarlas and Aya Elamroussi |
Javier Luna came to the U.S. from Peru when he was 24 years old in 1998. The economy was good, the job market was plentiful and American society was enthralled by the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Luna lived in the U.S. through the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the 2008 financial crisis and Donald Trump’s shocking presidential win. He considers the U.S. his home.
“Once I touch American soil, I feel home,” Javier said. “I feel safe. This is my home. I live here. I vote. I pay my taxes. I love this country.”
Luna is a community organizer for Central American Solidarity Association, or CASA. It is non-profit organization in Langley Park, Md. that specializes in empowering immigrants and providing numerous services to the immigrant community at large. Most CASA consumers are from Latin America, speak little English and come from a low-income background.
With 70 percent of its residents foreign-born principally in Central America, Langley Park is the heart of the Latino immigrant community in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.