- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

Mexicans Stay in U.S. for Holidays

Vida en el Valle, News Report, Martin E. Martnez Posted: Dec 18, 2008

Editor's Note: No statistics are kept on Mexicans who travel back to Mexico for the Christmas holidays, but they are in the millions, reports Vida En El Valle. The national media has reported fewer Mexicans are traveling this year due to the faltering economy, increased violence in Mexico, or tightened border security that makes it more difficult for undocumented travelers to make it back. Vida en el Valle spoke to area Latinos who normally would spend the upcoming days in Mexico to share the posadas and other traditional celebrations with family.

SACRAMENTO -- For the past 15 years, the Valencia family has lived in California, and every year they visit their relatives in Mxico at Christmastime. This year, however, will be the first time the Valencias do not go south, due to the bad economy.

Like thousands of Latino families throughout the country, the Valencias find themselves in harsh economic times. Ernesto Valencia, father of the family, lost his job in housing construction more than a year ago.

"Work suddenly started to dry up until the time came when the boss told us he couldn't keep us on because construction had simply stopped," explained Valencia, 43, who worked for eight years as a contractor.

The situation was the same for Valencia's wife, Sara Nez, who worked cleaning houses and offices. "Nobody wants to hire you anymore because everyone wants to save a little money, too. Now I just clean my own home."

Under the circumstances, the family decided to stay in Sacramento for the holidays, a choice that saddened the entire family; they were very much looking forward to seeing their relatives in Los Reyes, Michoacn.

"Since we came to California, we've never not gone. I was really eager to see my parents and my brothers and sisters, but unfortunately I may have to wait until next year, if the economic situation improves for us," Nez said.

Valencia said it was an annual tradition to prepare for the trip to Mexico, buying clothing and gifts for the whole family there. But this year they can't even afford to send gifts to Mexico by mail.

"We're getting by on what I earn from little jobs here and there. Sometimes I worked in gardening, sometimes doing small construction jobs and sometimes nothing," said Valencia, father of three school-age children.

He added that when he had steady work in construction he earned a salary of up to $4,000 a month, and now he has to make do on less than half that amount.

In the Sacramento area, the unemployment rate is around 9.5 percent, the highest in 10 years. Construction is one of the hardest-hit industries.

Besides the lack of money, another reason why the Valencia family decided not to go to their hometown is the wave of violence impacting Mxico, especially in the state of Michoacn.

"The truth is that it scares us a little to go to Mxico because the violence and crime are really rough right now. After seeing what happened on Sept. 16 in Morelia, well, it scares us to go, especially because we live in California and people there assume that because you live here you have money," commented Nez.

Nez was referring to an incident that took place during a public Mexican Independence Day celebration in Morelia, when several people lobbed grenades into a crowd, killing three and injuring dozens.

"How can you get enthusiastic about going when something like that can happen, when they kill even chiefs of police, what can a civilian expect?" Nez said.

Related Articles:

Exodus of Immigrants Is a Myth

Exodus of Migrants?

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage