chewing ideas down to stubble, then moving on…

Immigration Reversal?

Posted by Jason on December 10, 2008

I’ve heard several stories like this one, which talks about how many Latin American immigrants are leaving the United States to return home to their own countries. Now, I live in California, and immigration (legal or not) is a fact of life for me. Most of my students come from immigrant families, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, I wonder if their parents’ lives have really been better since they came across the border?

Granted, many of the poorest people that come across the border have more indigenous blood and have surely experienced some level of persecution and, in some countries, bloody civil wars. In this case, it’s highly likely that life in the United States is much better than abroad. What about the people whose lives weren’t necessarily awful, but rather just poor? These people sometimes come with the expectations that the United States is a land flowing with milk and honey, and everyone has sweet jobs and big houses. The reality is often a chilling contrast to the warm fuzzy feelings of success that some people have when they hear “El Norte.” 

Immigrants must deal with shrewd businesspeople, hateful bigots, and the illegal ones live in constant fear of “La Migra”- immigration officials. Often children immersed in poor neighborhoods get sucked into gangs, drugs, violence, or all three. Obviously this isn’t the life that many people want for their families. How many of these people actually have better lives before they come to the United States? What’s the threshold for returning to their own countries to be with their families?


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