Roma find acceptance in Washington County, Pa.

After some initial culture shock, California locals and a group of Roma immigrants who now call the borough home are learning to co-exist.

An aura of mystery still surrounds the newcomers’ arrival this summer, but their presence does not seem to be provoking the hostile reaction of a month ago.

“There are groups in the community that are making great efforts to help them enculturate,” said Dr. Richard Martin, the borough administrator. “We’ve been working through these issues.”

The Roma families, with surnames such as Miclescu and Avrinte, started arriving in May and sparked alarm among some residents who accused the newcomers of hazardous driving, shoplifting, defecating in public, accumulating refuse in their yards and slaughtering chickens in view of neighbors.

The complaints reached a crescendo at a standing-room-only borough council meeting in July but have since dropped off. Martin told a sparse audience at Thursday’s council meeting that no information was forthcoming from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Martin said the borough and community groups are trying to overcome the cultural and language barriers and reach out to the Roma families.

He said some of them are living in “barren” apartments and have been given furniture. “They’re very anxious to have it.”

Borough police have issued citations for noise complaints, disorderly conduct and traffic violations, but no criminal charges, Martin said. He compared the level of disruption to a Cal U fraternity party.

Council President Patsy Alfano said he was disappointed no one from Homeland Security or ICE attended Thursday’s meeting to explain the immigrant influx.

“They’ve been very uncooperative and unforthcoming with any information or help,” he said. “It would have been a nice thing if someone had given us a heads-up (about the families’ arrival). We’re…

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