People we know who have gone to the US and returned here to Mexico invariably say nice things about the US. I don't necessarily believe them, though I know some have done well and have liked it al Norte. One neighbor, trained as a lawyer who could not get work here commensurate with his education and experience has not come back in over six years. He sends money to his wife so she can continue her construction of a large house for herself and her two kids. I suspect she'd rather he returned, even now. He is an illegal alien, but a very educated one. I imagine he has done well on the other side and may even have another family.
We know other people who have settled in the US, some legally, who have returned to visit. The US has become their home. They don't praise or damn either the US or Mexico. It's just the way it is. There is definitely (or was) more money to be had in the US. They are very glad they can come and go. There is nothing scientific about what I am saying. Just impressions. I do know some Mexicans at least resent not being able to collect their Social Security when they are captured and sent home. Sometimes Mexicans who have worked extremely hard for years and years are caught and sent to prisons for "illegal aliens" and then deported without access to money they have earned. Obama's administration has imprisoned and deported more workers without papers annually than Bush's. If I remember correctly, a significantly larger number.
The proposed US immigration reform has no input from foreign workers in the US. It seems to me it is designed to make USAners (as Richard Grabman calls them) happy: conservatives because it is stern, liberals because it allows a path to citizenship. I don't tend to think the issue of citizenship per se is so important to foreign workers in the US. I think that issues rather center around being able to come and go; not being treated as slaves; not being subject to imprisonment; not having to deal with absolutely impossible tangles of bureaucracy that stand, like razor wire, on the path to legal work.
Below is a translation of a summary of Mexican commentary on US reforms suggested by the so-called Group of Eight to the proposed immigration act. It is from an Aristegui interview with Jorge Santibañes y Jorge Bustamante. María del Carmen Aristegui Flores is a famous Mexican journalist who has among other outlets for her work an interview program on CNN en Español which you can see in the US with English subtitles if you wish. Jorge Santibañez is currently president of El Colegio de la Frontera Norte. He has broad experience in Mexico and France, working in academic settings and also on issues of migration. Jorge Bustamante is a graduate of Notre Dame (USA), founder and fomer president of El Colegio de la Frontera Norte. He has taught at the University of Texas, Austin; Notre Dame, University of California, Riverside, in Paris, at UNAM and at El Colegio de Mexico. He has published widely and has much experience in both the US and Mexico. I hope my USAner readers will appreciate the depth and breadth of experience of these two men.
A Translaton of the Summary of the Interview's Key Points presented on Aristegui Noticias:
In an interview with Aristegui...doctors Jorge Santibañes and Jorge Bustamente, specialists in rissues of the northern frontier, spoke of the implications the new legislation will have if it is approved by the US Congress. The commentators point out that the Mexican goernment has maintained a worrisome and "not useful silence" in the face of it.
For Santibañes Romellón, the document presented to Congress by the so-called Group of 8 contains four basic components:
Frontier Security, which appears to be what to be what the Republicans obtained" and which reresents a greater rigidity on the frontier, which is bad news for Mexico because it implies greater risks for migrants and makes vulnerable the binationality whch the frontier requires for living.
Process of regularization which appears to be the best part of reform, but which also implies a very long road to citizenship with two intermediate registrations and three payments of fines totalling two thousand dollars, which furthermore is limited to those who entered the country before Janurary, 2012.
Regularization of the labor market for contracting the undocumented workforce with a much more rigid, automated system, which for employers is going to be much more complicated when they want to contract an undocumented worker. [Here I just want to point out yet again that undocumented workers are a significant part of the US economy]
For Jorge Bustamente, the reform proposed by the eight US legislators has many elements which are going to lead to [at least] partial disaster because its sanctions, imply a unilateral act on the part of the US in response to a phenomenon which is bilateral by definition. It is going to be difficult for a unilateral measure to be successful in the face of a bilateral phenomenon.
Furthermore, it is a law which only can be executed within the territory of the US dealing with a phenomenon whose causes and consequences overflow the frontier. Bustamante also emphasized that Obama presents himself as a president who is friendly to immigrants and in fact is a worse enemy than the previous president.