Sara Espinosa chose to sleep on the street rather than leave her 12-year-old son to spend the night alone at a men-only homeless shelter. As a consequence, Sara, her son and her two daughters have been sleeping in her car.
Espinosa is one of hundreds of people in conditions of extreme poverty in Imperial Valley, one of the poorest counties in California and the nation, La Opinión reporter Claudia Nuñez wrote Wednesday.
Here, the unemployment rate has already passed 24 percent, almost four times the national average, and one out of every 18 families has lost their home.
While Imperial Valley is an extreme case, a report released last week by the Pew Hispanic Center shows the economic recession “is having an especially severe impact on employment prospects for immigrant Hispanics,” according to Rakesh Kochhar, the center’s associate director for research.
The unemployment rate for foreign-born Hispanics increased from 5.1 percent to 8 percent, or by 2.9 percentage points, from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the fourth quarter of 2008. During this same time period, the unemployment rate for all persons in the labor market increased from 4.6 percent to 6.6 percent, or by 2 percentage points.