MEXICO CITY — After a tough economic year, many Mexican immigrants who usually return home from the U.S. for Christmas and New Year are more likely to stay home.
A survey this week of local newspapers in the Northern Mexican states turned up several reports of smaller numbers of paisanos (compatriots) returning home for the holidays than last year. Between 10 and 20 percent fewer migrants have crossed the border so far, the newspapers said.
“The struggling economy in both the U.S. and Mexico and drug-related violence south of the border are expected to keep away many of the 1 million or so expatriates who normally return annually for the holidays,” reported the Dallas Morning News’ Mexico correspondent Alfredo Corchado.
About 17 percent fewer migrants entered the northwestern border city of Nogales, south of Tucson, over the weekend, reported El Imparcial newspaper. The statistic is based on the number of temporary permits for American cars granted at the border post — which can only be awarded to legal U.S. residents.
At Reynosa, in the Mexican Northeast, the number of entries was down 20 percent from last year, said the En Línea Directa news website. Jorge Boy Espinoza, local customs official, said the economic crisis was probably behind the drop.
“Barely ten people were in line to process the temporary importation of their cars into Mexican territory (on Sunday,) unlike at the same date last year, when some 400 clients were counted.”
Some of those who did return “couldn’t help being afraid on the face of the wave of kidnapping and extortion to which dozens of them have been victims when arriving in the country,” reported Northern daily El Siglo de Torreón.
Migrant Lucio Tecalco told El Siglo crossing a big chunk of the Mexican map to reach his home state of Veracruz was a challenge after four years of not coming home:
“Everything has changed, you hear a lot of things about Mexico, that they are kidnapping us Mexicans who come from the U.S.
“It’s not the same as when we left.”