As U.S. Job Opportunities Fade, More Mexicans Look Homeward

Publication: The Wall Street Journal

Author: Miriam Jordan

02/24/2009 - During a decade in the U.S., Mexican immigrant Linex Rivera gave birth to three daughters, whose American citizenship offered her hope of staying in the land of opportunity. But with job prospects drying up for her husband, Ms. Rivera last week joined a phalanx of compatriots at the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles inquiring about obtaining Mexican citizenship for their children.

"We are thinking of returning to Mexico and want our daughters to have all the rights of Mexican nationals," says Ms. Rivera, whose children are nine, five and three.

After a historic immigration wave, many Mexicans and other Latin Americans are preparing to return to their homelands amid the deepening recession here. Mexicans who reside in the U.S. sought Mexican citizenship for their U.S.-born children in record numbers last year.

The recession is hitting Hispanic immigrants especially hard, according to a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization. The unemployment rate for foreign-born Hispanics hit 8% in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with 5.1% in the same quarter a year earlier. During the same period, the unemployment rate for all U.S. workers climbed to 6.5% from 4.6%.

"There is strong evidence that inflows to the U.S. from Mexico have diminished, and the economic distress is likely giving immigrants already here greater incentive to return home," says Rakesh Kochhar, the Pew economist who prepared the report.

Read the full article As U.S. Job Opportunities Fade, More Mexicans Look Homeward on the Wall Street Journal's Web site.

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