Heart-ache: Bad economy hurting illegal aliens, too

Immigration experts say it’s not yet clear how large an immigration exodus of Latin Americans is under way. But they say anecdotal evidence suggests day laborers, like Pablo, have begun packing — a result of the economy and tougher immigration enforcement.

For some immigrants, the experts say, the reasons for toughing out the U.S. economic depression outweigh the reasons for leaving, including:

• One or two days of work per month at $8 an hour is often better than what they can make back home;
• Tougher border enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border has made it harder for them to return once they leave;
• Smuggling costs to get into the United States from Mexico have skyrocketed from about $1,500 three years ago to about $6,000 today.