Remember when America was so prosperous that we were debating ways of keeping our neighbors from breaking into our country to steal our crumbs? So much so that we were building a big fence- sort of like the Berlin Wall because that worked out so well for Germany?
That was August- the good old days, when we had nothing better to worry about. Now, as the Herald reports this morning, Mexicans and other immigrants are fleeing the United States like it's a house party with a kicked keg. You might wanna file this with under-$2.00 gas in the Be Careful What You Wish For cabinet: Recession 2008 folder.
Economists are already predicting that when America gets back on his feet, we're going to miss those ready cheap laborers. Cue the Alanis Morissette:
"The Pew Hispanic Center, a research group in Washington, suggested
that fewer immigrants were arriving because of the economic slowdown
and stricter enforcement. The report said that the illegal population
had stopped growing and that it now stood at about 11.9 million, down
by about 500,000 from a year earlier. While the potential
ramifications of a reduced flow of immigrants may not be evident in a
recession, labor shortages could emerge once the economy improves.
a bad economy, U.S. workers may temporarily take those jobs that
undocumented workers do, but once things turn around, we may see labor
shortages if too many foreign workers leave,'' said Tammy Fox-Isicoff,
a Miami attorney who specializes in business-related immigration."
The immigrants returning to their home countries come from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. But the phenomenon is most striking among Mexicans- with emigration from our bummy cousin to the South dropping 42 percent in two years, according to this AP article. A choice quote:
"There is no longer an American dream, at least for the moment with the economic situation," said Victor Clark, the director of the Tijuana-based Binational Center for Human Rights, which works with illegal migrants. "News of mass raids snowball through towns that send a lot of migrants. In small northern towns, the news is that there is no work for Mexicans in the United States."
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Of course, this is causing a huge overpopulation crisis in the Mexican cities the migrants are returning to- and worsening their already dire economy, which relied on money sent home from workers in the United States.
Of course, the Herald's even-tempered online commenters are having a reasoned debate on the complexities of this reverse migration. For example, poster "Strike" opines: "There is always some good in everything that happens - these freeloaders leaving is worth the money I have lost in my 401K. All the bleeding hearts who think that their lawns won't get mowed; their house cleaned; their cars washed; their vegetables picked ---WELL, WHY DON'T YOU LEAVE WITH THEM AND SET YOUR HOME AND BUSINESS IN MEXICO!"
"Usaone" sums up the contemplative mood: "you lazy pieces of human skin.. go home and drive your jitneys and live in mud houses!!"