Mexican immigrants see signs of recovery in U.S.
October 23, 2010
With signs of economic recovery growing, some Mexican immigrants who left California for their homelands after losing their jobs are returning to the United States, Mexican officials and immigrant-assistance groups say.
U.S. unemployment is still high, but hope is rising, said Jose Mendoza Morfin, municipal president of Cotija, Mexico, the hometown of an estimated 2,000 California immigrants.
"The United States is beginning to stabilize," Mendoza said. "They know that in a short time they're going to have a job."
But migrants are cautious. Some are choosing to bypass high-unemployment states such as California for places with more jobs, he said.
Others are returning alone, leaving families behind in Mexico until the economy improves further.
There is no way to measure how many immigrants left the United States because of the recession. But experts agree that the economic downturn -- coupled with more aggressive immigration-law enforcement -- fundamentally shifted immigration patterns.
Nationally, the number of people who illegally crossed the border plummeted from 850,000 each year in the first half of the decade to about 300,000 annually from March 2007 to March 2009, the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center said.
The number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States declined from 11.8 million in 2007 to 10.8 million in 2009, according to U.S. government estimates.
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