Some Immigrants Choosing To Go Home

August 15, 2008 8:04:44 AM PDT
As jobs disappear and the economy tightens, some in the valley's biggest workforce are giving up and going home. "I had a grower tell me that five guys left him about four months ago," said Manuel Cunha with the Nisei Farmers League.The Mexican consulate in downtown Fresno reports an increase in the number of people seeking assistance in order to go back to their native country. "The people that is coming and they have interest to get back to Mexico. They are planning their travel, because they are getting the proper documents and also information," said Dulce Maria Vega with the consulate's office. The Mexican consulate's office has helped 28 families ship their belongings to Mexico so far this year. That's a 40 percent increase over all of last year, when a total of 20 families sought help. Vega said the valley's foreclosure crisis and a lack of jobs are partly to blame.

But Manuel Cunha believes there are more political reasons as to why immigrants are losing hope, including last year's ICE raids, and this year's water crisis. "They see a federal judge making a decision making they don't understand. That a fish has destroyed their life. Their water is going, their jobs are going," said Cunha.

Cunha believes the exodus will only get worse until the American government passes comprehensive immigration reform. He fears by then it may be too late. "Once these workers go, they're not going to come back. Because they know they don't have a chance here, they know the country doesn't care about them. So they're going to leave. Then my industry takes a crash," said Cunha.

The Mexican consulate's office also helps families transfer birth certificates to Mexico and offers types of job training for people heading back. They've also printed up "Welcome Home" pamphlets in an effort to make the immigrant's transition back to Mexico as easy as possible.

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