Monday, August 19, 2019

Immigrant of the Day: Beto Perez (Colombia)

Beto Perez, Photo by Luis Hidalgo

You may not know his name, but you definitely know his moves. Our immigrant of the day, Beto Perez, is the creator of that ubiquitous exercise sensation Zumba.

In a recent BBC profile of Perez, I learned that Perez invented his signature workout when he was a mere 16-year-old exercise instructor. One day, Perez inadvertently left his employer-mandated playlist of American pop songs at home and was forced to improvise with his own Latin tunes. His class was a success and the start of a long career in what would ultimately be called Zumba.

The bio offers this tantalizing tidbit about Perez' immigration history -- he came to the U.S. without authorization and lived, homeless, on the streets of Miami. Unfortunately, as it typically the case with such profiles, there's no information about how he regularized his status in this country. Anyone know his immigration lawyer?


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