Feb 04 2013
For millions of undocumented migrants who have spent years in the US legal shadows, the rupture of the political deadlock on immigration was the realisation of what once seemed a forlorn hope.
But even if the moves to fix America’s broken immigration system result in a deal that once seemed so elusive, for many others it will come too late. Those are the people for whom the pressure of living without proper legal status bore down too hard, and they returned home.
Most of them will never be allowed back: anyone who has lived illegally in the US for more than a year is permanently barred from ever re-entering the country, unless they can argue for an exemption on the grounds of “extreme or unusual hardship”. And there are no plans to change that particularly harsh provision in America’s notoriously tough immigration regime.
Many former undocumented migrants return to Guadalajara in Mexico. It’s been dubbed “Mexico’s Silicon Valley” and those who return from the US with bilingual skills can easily find a high-paying job at call centers in multinational corporations. Here, there is a ready-made support system for people trying to find their footing in the country they were raised, but barely know.
These people, like most of their friends and coworkers, still hope to return one day to the US, believing the results of immigration reform to be unpredictable; and many of their family members still live in the US without papers.
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