Migrant workers leave U.S.

As the unemployment rate rises among migrant workers in the U.S, they face a tough choice of whether to stay or return home. Statistics show immigration has dropped significantly in the first months of this year.

The number of migrant workers from Mexico – Latin America's largest supplier of new immigrants to the U.S. – has decreased by 13 per cent in the first quarter of 2009, against the same period in 2008, The Wall Street Journal reports referencing the Pew Hispanic Center.

In the same period, more people returned to Mexico than left for the U.S. – about 139,000 returnees versus 137,000 leaving their home country.

Mexicans account for 32 per cent of immigrants in the United States, and more than half of them lack legal status, according to the Pew center.

Some researchers partially link the drop in immigration from Mexico to increased border controls. Others note that a revival of the economy would bring more illegal immigrants to the U.S. regardless of this deterrent.

Also, a recent report from the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) reveals that immigrants have been hit harder by the current recession than have native-born Americans.

It says the number of unemployed immigrants has increased by 1.3 million (130 per cent) since the third quarter of 2007. Among natives, the increase was five million (81 per cent).