But masses of people do not uproot themselves from familiar territory just to make marginal economic gains. They migrate to pursue dreams or escape nightmares.
Life in Mexico is not a nightmare for many these days. Beneath the headlines about killings in the drug wars, Mexico has become a predominantly middle-class country, as Jorge Castañeda notes in his recent book, Mañana Forever? Its economy is growing faster than ours.
And the dreams that many Mexican immigrants pursued have been shattered.
You can see that if you look at the statistics on mortgage foreclosures, starting with the housing bust in 2007. More than half were in the four “sand states” — California, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida — and within them, as the Pew Hispanic Center noted in a 2009 report, in areas with large numbers of Latino immigrants.