With its faltering economy, the U.S. is no longer the land of opportunity it once was for Mexican immigrants.
The tightening economy may be driving once-hopeful immigrants home. This report presents evidence of a gradual exodus: Workers line up at Mexico’s consulate for permits that let them haul U.S.-purchased possessions tax-free. Car dealers catering to immigrants say cash-only business is brisk as workers hunt for affordable pickups, 1998 or newer to comply with Mexico’s laws. Bank data show that the amount of money Mexican workers send home is falling. Mexico-bound buses at Denver’s bus deport are filling up more swiftly than usual. Interviews indicate growing numbers of immigrants uprooted by economic hard times are recalculating whether to go or stay. Violence in Mexico complicates decision-making. Any exodus would add to what recent surveys in both the U.S . and Mexico show to be sharply reduced migration into the United States. Colorado’s population of 5 million includes 243,000 Mexico-born residents — many of them with U.S.-born children — and another 37,000 immigrants from elsewhere in Latin America. Latinos, half of them immigrants, make up 14 percent of the nation’s workforce.