By Oscar Corral
The immigration issue is hot right now in the United States, with thousands of young children crossing the southern Mexican border unaccompanied by adults, and politicians scrambling to find solutions or condemn the kids, or both.
Why do these people come to the United States? What drives them to leave their families behind and face enormous risks?
Often it’s violence and poverty. And the United States is not innocent in breeding these conditions.
Since the moment English settlers landed on North American shores in the 1600s, immigration and its consequences have been passionately debated in the colonies and the United States.
The inspiration for my novel, Keep Her Contained,
came from a True Crime case involving an immigrant that I covered as a reporter for Newsday in New York.
It’s about a young, attractive, and highly intelligent Salvadoran woman who emigrates to New York in the 1960s to help her family in El Salvador after her father is assassinated for political reasons. One day she vanishes without a trace in New York.
While the book is a mystery, its soul is the risks and ambitions that drive American demographics, and the way American policy has affected Latin America and driven its people to flee north.
The novel personalizes the circumstances that forced the hand of a young woman to ditch her family for the proverbial pot of gold in El Norte. And a mystery ensues. Filled with slimy characters, there’s no shortage of suspects. Was it the Cuban double agent, the abusive husband, the Puerto Rican pimp, or the suburban dad covering his tracks?
In the real life case that the book is based on, the discovery of a young woman’s mummified body beneath a mansion in Long Island, New York, captivated the nation’s imagination.
The ensuing police investigation and the unusual twists in the case caught the attention of television producers, who featured the true crime tale of Reyna Angelica Marroquin on CBS’s 48 hours, Forensic Files, and an episode of Law and Order.
I (Oscar Corral) was the lead reporter on the case for Newsday, and tracked down the victim’s family in El Salvador 30 years after she disappeared and broke the news to them about Reyna’s death. Keep Her Contained novel is based on that case. The image included above is an actual photograph of Reyna Angelica Marroquin before she was killed.
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