Photo: Crossing at California-Mexico border
As Mexico’s economy improves, the undocumented immigrants in California are heading south, realizing that sometimes, the American dream is only achievable when her economy allows it.
Wednesday, Sacramento’s Mexican consul general, Carlos González Gutiérrez, said, “It’s now easier to buy homes on credit, find a job and access higher education in Mexico.” He added that the U.S. has “become a middle-class country.”
Compared to the U.S.’s 9.4 percent unemployment rate, Mexico’s 4.9 percent shows a growing and improving economy.
The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) estimates that around 300,000 undocumented immigrants have left California since 2008. The Institute goes on to say that around 2.6 million undocumented make up 7 percent of the population and 9 percent of the workforce.
Sacramento County and the immediate area is dealing with a 12.3 unemployment rate and lack of construction work, resulting in a large number of undocumented immigrants leaving.
González Gutiérrez pointed out that the highest paying jobs available to undocumented workers are those in the building industry, “and because of the severe crisis in the construction business here, their first response has been to move into the service industry.” Adding, “But that has its limits. Then, they move to other areas in the U.S. to find better jobs – or back to Mexico.”
Laura Hill, a demographer with the PPIC, said it’s hard to read if the benefit of having fewer undocumented people outweighs the cost to employers and taxpayers. She stated that though California may have to provide less free education and medical care to undocumented children or the children of undocumented immigrants, it will also decrease the amount of tax revenue the state receives.
According to Hill, 836,100 undocumented immigrants in California filed U.S. tax returns in 2008.