August 12, 2008

Immigrants returning to Mexico in droves

08:52 PM CDT on Tuesday, August 12, 2008
By Kevin Peters / 11 News


HOUSTON -- “Jose” came to this country 10 years ago, seeking a better life. Now he is headed home.

Since he does not have a valid Social Security number and recent government crackdowns, employers who in the past would have hired an undocumented worker are too scared.

“It's really difficult,” said Jose.

So, he, his wife, and four children are headed back to Mexico. Turns out, he is not alone.

Officials at the Mexican Consulate's office in Houston said more families are headed south of the border. The number of Houston families transferring their kids' transcripts into Mexican schools has more than doubled.

An immigration attorney blames tighter enforcement for the migration, but that is not the only factor. The economy is improving to the south as companies are expanding into new global markets.

“I got a better opportunity with my company. They are relocating me there,” said Alejandro Cantu.

On the flip side, many industries in the United States are suffering through a sluggish economy.

“It's so difficult to pinpoint a phenomenon like immigration in one city,” said Carlos Gonzalez, the Consulate General of Mexico.

He said he is not sure what's driving the numbers, but does know that his office if offering more help to Mexicans who need to fill out paperwork before they move back home.

In the past, said Gonzalez, families just ignored details like schools transcripts.

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Should the Texas State Legislature pass immigration enforcement laws in 2009?