Recession Causes Surge In Illegal Immigration To Mexico
Outside a Casa Depot in Mexico City, Mexico, a group of men stands in the corner of the parking lot. Their eyes are tired and downcast, their suits slightly rumpled. A truck pulls up slowly, a local executive sitting in the front seat.
"Work?" asks the executive, rolling down the window.
The group mobs the truck, with all of the men speaking broken Spanish. "Yo quiero managerial work!" says one man. "La bibliotheque!" shouts another.
The man in the front seat points to Bob Sanders, once the owner of four McDonald's chain restaurants in Bangor, Maine.
"Si," says the man in the truck. Sanders jumps in the bed of the pickup, on his way to a day's work as assistant director of public relations at a small, Mexican advertising firm. The group goes back to the corner of the parking lot, silently.
This scene, once relatively rare, has become commonplace throughout Mexican cities. Former executives and managers of American companies, hit hard by the current recession, have been leaving family and friends for the hope of a new life in Mexico.
"The recession is hitting everyone," said Abel Valenzuela, a professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, "especially those in white collar positions who can no longer draw a salary by spending most of their work day on MySpace or playing Bejeweled. Layoffs and pay cuts are driving these once-valued workers out of the United States to countries like Mexico and Zimbabwe, where a day's worth of cubicle work will generate up to 8 trillion Zimbabwean dollars."
Bill Smith, who used to own a mid sized machinist company in Los Angeles, packed up and moved to Mexico at the end of 2008. "Once my company went under," said Smith, "I knew I could not support my family in a way that would allow our extravagant lifestyle to continue. Moving to Mexico was the only viable option for me."
At the end of the month, he will send what little money he will make back to his family in the United States. "Sure, it's hard to not be with them," said Smith, "but I can't let this recession take away what's important to us. That TV is just too damn nice to take back."
Mexican conservatives have been increasing calls to stop illegal immigrants from driving their SUVs across the border at night. The legislature is considering a bill that would build a 30-foot high, brick wall along the entire US-Mexican border, staffed full time by snipers and pit bulls.
"There's not a single Spanish speaking country where native-born Spanish peoples are reproducing themselves," said former Reformo Party Presidential candidate Patricko Buchananez. "Irish or German folks never claimed Mexico as their country, but these American immigrants believe that Mexico belongs to them. Mexico is passing away."
Adding credence to Buchananez's claim, a recent poll conducted by cnn.com showed that upwards of 60% of Americans believe that America owns the world and most of outer space.
Despite the controversy, many illegal immigrants say they will continue to do what they have to in order to survive.
"The bailout never came," said one dejected businessman, holding a sign in the air reading "el Worko". "Now I'm just another sucker hoping for the Mexican Dream.