Especially hard hit in the economic downturn — and the busting of the real estate bubble — were the home-building and construction industries, which employ an outsize number of illegal workers. “Migration has decreased because employment opportunities in the United States are not good. Fewer migrants have full-time jobs. Hours are reduced. Wages are lower. The amount of money they send home is less,” said German Vega of the College of the North in Tijuana. “And another reason is organized crime.”
Vega referred to the sensational news in Mexico of mass graves filled with the bodies of migrants and wave of kidnappings and extortion of those trying to cross north.
An even more difficult trip
Many Mexicans say it has become much more difficult to cross illegally into the United States. A group of men gathered on the sidewalk outside the shelter in Mexicali explained their plan. They had a stack of Google Maps printouts showing the local topography, as well as the latest weather report. It called for mist and low fog in the Imperial Valley, which the men said would help shield them from Border Patrol night-vision cameras. They would also wear black clothing and pieces of sponge or carpeting on their feet to avoid leaving prints in the sand.