The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 53

These female professionals are in the
Roanoke Valley legally and they contribute
to life in many ways.
But some still struggle.

T

‌ HE PREVAILING AND PERVASIVE IMAGE
of women seeking to immigrate
to the United States is a picture of
a huddled mass, exhausted, dirty,
desperate, looking into a camera
from behind a chain link fence at
the southern border.
That is often the case. Mexico provides a
large percentage of U.S. immigrants. Mostly,
however, the 45 million immigrants living
here-52% of them women-have come into
America on airplanes with proper visas. They
stay for a pre-determined length of time and
then go home. Those who stay, do so legally,
often working in professional positions, paying
taxes, raising families and frequently becoming
productive-even leading-citizens.
A third of immigrant workers are in
management, business, science or the arts.
Nearly that many are skilled workers.
The first story has been told many, many
times in recent years with the often-cruel
crackdown on those wanting sanctuary. The
latter is not so frequently shared.
Herewith the latter group in the lives of
six Roanoke Valley women professionals who
have found a home here, one they like a lot.
Most will stay.

YOLANDA RODRIGUEZ PUYANA was a
primary care physician in Sierra Madre,
Mexico, for six years and came to America
in 1987. She was newly married to her late
husband, Richard, who was beginning his
first medical residency in New York.

TheRoanoker.com

YOLANDA RODRIGUEZ PUYANA

She no longer practices medicine because
of the requirement to pass a federal exam and
do a three-year residency. "I passed the exam
[in Mexico] in 1986 but not being fluent [in
English] and my desire to be a mother [she
has two sons in their 20s] deterred me from
practicing. After passing the federal exam, I
did one year at New York State University,
an internal medicine internship. I got
pregnant during that year and had a difficult
pregnancy," having to rest for six months.
"Being in a new country without my
family or any support group made me make
the decision of staying at home with my
children. My husband worked many hours
and medicine is very demanding. I wanted

my children to be raised by me and there's
not a single day in which I regret this
decision. I guess I'm more family-oriented
than career-oriented."
Puyana has been heavily involved in major
social issues for some time. "The difficulty
as an activist while being an immigrant is
the sensation that I have to make a major
effort to have public credibility and to have
my voice heard.
"The fear that permeates every area of
Latinos' lives and creates an atmosphere of
distrust, apathy and indifference, something
that is frustrating since it gives me a feeling
of impotence because the fear is caused by
external forces I cannot control. The political
environment right now is toxic and, in some
MARCH/APRIL 2020 53


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The Roanoker - March/April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - March/April 2020

The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Intro
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover1
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover2
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 3
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 4
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 5
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 6
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 7
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 8
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 9
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The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 11
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 12
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The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 16
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 17
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 18
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 19
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 20
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 21
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 22
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 23
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 24
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The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 29
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 30
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The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 42
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 43
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The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 45
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 46
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 47
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 48
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 49
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 50
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 51
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The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 53
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The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - 114
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover3
The Roanoker - March/April 2020 - Cover4
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