Kris Gutierrez, FOX News, August 22, 2008
Illegal immigrants are returning home to Mexico in numbers not seen for decades—and the Mexican government may have to deal with a crush on its social services and lower wages once the immigrants arrive.
The Mexican Consulate’s office in Dallas is seeing increasing numbers of Mexican nationals requesting paperwork to go home for good, especially parents who want to know what documentation they’ll need to enroll their children in Mexican schools.
“Those numbers have increased percentage-wise tremendously,” said Enrique Hubbard, the Mexican consul general in Dallas. “In fact, it’s almost 100 percent more this year than it was the previous two years.”
The illegal immigrant population in the U.S. has dropped 11 percent since August of last year, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. Its research shows 1.3 million illegal immigrants have returned to their home countries.
Some say illegal immigrants are leaving because a soft economy has led to fewer jobs, causing many laborers to seek work elsewhere.
Others argue that a tough stance on immigration through law enforcement has spread fear throughout the illegal population.
Advocates for immigrants are disturbed by the trend. Albert Ruiz, an organizer for the League of United Latin American Citizens, agrees that more undocumented immigrants are going home—but says families are being torn apart in the process.
If a father is deported, Ruiz says, his family members in America are forced either to fend for themselves or follow him to a country where they’ve never even lived.
[Editor’s Note: Returning Mexicans didn’t need U.S. help to go home. See “Self-Deportation Program Scrapped.“]