One need only to put two stories together to realize that the number of undocumented workers in the United States has now begun to decline because of a weak economy and because of stricter border enforcement.
One story takes a macro view and it comes from Mexico. The other is anecdotal and it comes from Raleigh, North Carolina. Put the two together and you see a picture that shows that undocumented workers unable to find jobs are returning home to their country of origin while at the same time the number of those trying to cross the Mexico-U.S. border has decreased.
The anecdotal story comes for the Raleigh News-Observer and it was published Sunday.
María Velicquez, assistant manager for the Tornado Bus Company’s Raleigh office, said that 10 to 20 Mexicans board buses headed for Mexico each day. The story in the News-Observer said that this was a big turnaround from when the Tornado Bus Company first started doing business in the state 15 years ago.
Back then, Velicquez said, each day brought busloads of immigrants to the state every day. There was an economic boom, and few were checking the immigration status of those arriving in North Carolina.
The only ones coming now, Velicquez said, are those with permits to work in the tobacco fields.
This does not mean that the Hispanic population both with and without working papers has not grown in the last decade. It did from 378,963 in 2000 to 800,120 in 2010, many thousands of whom still work daily to deepen their roots in the state by buying homes, starting families and building businesses.
The immigration issue is far from becoming stable and it still elicits heated disputes all over the nation. That can been seen in stories from dozens of states in the union where new tougher immigration laws are being considered, and in Washington, which despite of promises from President Barack Obama to pass a sweeping immigration reform law, Congress is not seriously considering any measures to make it more restrictive or more lenient.
What is new is that fewer Mexicans are trying to enter the United States and more of them are returning home after finding it difficult to live and work in this country without the proper documentation.
That story came out over the weekend. It was published by the Associated Press and based its facts divulged by Mexico’s own 2010 census.
According to the Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática (INEGI) – Mexico’s office for national statistics – the number of people leaving Mexico had decreased from 450,000 a year between 2000 and 2005, to 145,000 a year in the last five years.
At the same time, Eduardo Sojo, INEGI’s president said that the number of Mexicans returning home had doubled in the last decade. He didn’t provide a number but did say it still was relatively small.
“The immigration story has changed drastically in the last five years,” Sojo told the AP. He said that 31% of the Mexicans who had left the country between 2005 and 2010 had come back, while only 17% of those who had left in the previous five years had done the same.
In essence, what the two stories say, when put together, is that the number of Mexicans migrating to the United States has decreased while the number who has decided to go back home has grown.
This does not mean that the immigration issue has been resolved. It hasn’t. All this shows is that there is a growing shift to fewer people crossing the border without papers, and that the number of those who give up because finding a job is increasingly hard and fear continuing to live in the shadows, afraid of being arrested, is making many of them leave.
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Posted by: Conrado Garcia Jamin
- Mexico’s Economy Is the Problem That Anti-Immigrant Laws Won’t Solve (northernbarbarians.wordpress.com)
- Mexico census: Fewer migrating, many returning (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Mexico census: fewer migrating, many returning (sfgate.com)
- Tide turns: Sharp increase in number of Mexicans returning home (cnn.com)