Like many others, Mexican national leaving Las Vegas

Every man has his breaking point, and Elias Garcia Vicente, it would seem, has reached his.

After five years of hustling for jobs in Las Vegas, the illegal immigrant from Mexico’s Gulf Coast is calling it quits and heading back home to Veracruz.

Handing out girlie cards to tourists on the Strip just isn’t cutting it anymore, he says.

He makes $250 a week – and that is after putting in 10 hours a day, six days a week.

“It’s time to go home,” said Garcia Vicente, 56, as he took a break and sat in the shade one afternoon, explaining his situation in Spanish. “It used to be I could get two to three jobs easy here. Now, all I’ve got is this. It’s getting to the point where I can’t feed myself, pay the rent and send money back home.

“So I’m figuring I might as well just go home.

As soon as he saves up enough money, he plans to leave Las Vegas in relative style: aboard an air-conditioned Greyhound bus headed south for the Mexican border town of Nogales.

His imminent departure will be in stark contrast to his arrival: He walked nine straight days through the Arizona desert with little water, the prospect of jobs leading the way.

But the plenitude of jobs has long dried up. The American dream hasn’t lived up to its billing, and Garcia Vicente is just one of hundreds of thousands of Mexican-born immigrants who are returning home in record numbers – in what many demographic experts are referring to as “reverse migration.”

IMMIGRATION AT A STANDSTILL

If there were ever a gauge on just how badly the U.S. economy is doing, it would be this: Mexican immigrants, documented and undocumented alike, are returning home, hoping to find jobs and a better life in a country historically known for its Third World conditions.

A recent study by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Hispanic Center reports that 1.4 million Mexican-born immigrants left the United States between 2005 and 2010, more than double the number between 1995 and 2005.

In fact, the study cites, that the same number of Mexicans returned home as entered the United States, perhaps a first in the history of Mexican migration.

“The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill,” writes the study’s author Jeffrey Passel in the opening lines of the April study. “After four decades that brought
12 million current immigrants, most of whom came illegally, the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped and may have reversed.”

And the number is growing by the day because a weakening U.S. job and housing market, adds Passel, who called the results “a real eye-opener.”

The conclusion was based on Mexican census data that had not been readily available in years past, he said.

IN THE SCHOOLS

In Las Vegas, where the unemployment rate is 12 percent and where the construction industry is a mere shadow of its former powerful self, the Mexican exodus can be felt up close and personal.

More than 1,000 Mexican families have left the Clark County School District’s Adult English Language Program and headed back to Mexico in search of jobs with their children – some of whom can’t speak Spanish – in tow, said Priscilla Roche, the program’s director.

It used to be that the parents in the district’s English as a Second Language classes would “go into hiding,” Roche said, when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would conduct its annual raids. It wasn’t uncommon for the parents to go missing for a few weeks.

This time, she said, they’re gone for good.

She knows because many of them stopped to say “good-bye” before they left – among them 14-year-old Giovanni Escalera, who played in the mariachi band at Rancho High School but who knows no Spanish. His father, a construction worker, was unemployed for far too long and felt he had no recourse but to take his family back to Guadalajara, Mexico, Roche said.

“It’s sad. The American dream is vanishing,” she said. “They’re all going back to try and find work – in body shops, in grocery stores, in roadside markets, in factories – if they’re lucky. They’re going to take whatever they can find, just like they did here. Their mind-set is, ‘We need to get back home where at least we have family support.’ ”

AT THE CONSULATE

At the Mexican Consulate in downtown Las Vegas, the departures have caused a buzz of activity as an increasing number of families are showing up and asking for Mexican citizenship applications for their children.

They’re also asking the consulate to notarize local school transcripts so the Mexican government will accept them and their children can transfer without any problems, said Atzimba Luna Becerril, consul for community affairs.

It used to be that the consulate would get maybe one or to two such requests a month, Luna Becerril said. These days, the consulate is fielding one to two such requests a day.

One great concern for Mexican consular officials is the legion of U.S.-born children who are returning to Mexico and do not know Spanish.

“There’s this interesting dynamic going on,” Luna Becerril said. “The parents are Mexican citizens, the children are U.S. citizens because they were born here, and now many of them have to find private schools in Mexico where English is taught. If they go to the public school system, the instruction is going to be in Spanish, and there’s a good chance that they’ll fall behind in their studies.”

The reverse migration has reversed the roles of the generations: Here, immigrant parents would apply for U.S. citizenship and try to improve upon their English language skills by taking classes; over there, the children are applying for Mexican citizenship and need to either learn Spanish or find English instruction.

“What you have are desperately poor families trying to come up with the money to pay for private schooling for their children,” Luna Becerril said. “It’s just not a realistic possibility.”

EBB AND FLOW

This is not the first time Mexican immigrants will return to Mexico in large waves, according to the Pew study.

It happened during the Great Depression. The Mexican-born population here hit a peak at 640,000 in 1930, but when the U.S. market crashed and poverty set in, the population fell dramatically after hundreds of thousands of them were deported to Mexico, according to the study.

It wasn’t until the 1950s, when the United States needed workers in the fields of California, that the Mexican-born population rose dramatically again – under the Bracero program.

By 1970, the Mexican-born numbers rose to about 760,000, a number that has since grown and can be felt in the state of Nevada.

Of the roughly 2.7 million people who live here, about one in four are Latino, and most of them – 78 percent – are of Mexican descent or have some sort of family ties in Mexico, according to Angela Kelly, vice president for immigration policy for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for American Progress.

Hispanics have gone from
19.7 percent of the total population in 2000 to 26 percent in 2010. The explosion accounted for 46 percent of the state’s overall population growth in the past decade, Kelley said, and helped Nevada gain a new congressional seat in the wake of the 2010 Census.

But there are also thousands of illegal immigrants who carry no political clout and are merely here to make money and to fashion better lives for themselves, she said.

A great wave of Latino immigrants arrived in Las Vegas in the late 1980s, with the construction of megaresorts and high-scale casinos along the Strip. But the state’s history of immigration goes back much further.

The first wave of immigrant workers to be found in Nevada can be traced as far back as the 1860s, when thousands of Mexicans who had been displaced by the Mexican War found jobs in the copper mines in Northern Nevada, said Ron James with the Nevada State Historical Preservation Office.

Another wave of immigrant workers from the south followed, this time Chileans whose mining experience drew them to the region, James said.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Mexican labor, in part, fueled the construction of a pair of railroads that crisscrossed the state, said Guy Rocha, a former state archivist and historian.

During World War II, a sizable Mexican population worked at the magnesium plant in Henderson. In the late 1950s, Cuban immigrants displaced by Fidel Castro’s revolution wound up in the gaming industry here.

But without question, the Latino population is now at its highest in the state, and though there will always be the likes of undocumented workers filling jobs along the Strip, their numbers, at least now, seem to be dipping.

UNCERTAIN FUTURE

Garcia Vicente said many of his friends and co-workers have already left town and he feels their absence. They would pool their money and buy groceries together.

Although he worked twice as hard and earned half as much money in Mexico, he lived better than in Las Vegas, he said.

In Mexico, Garcia Vicente worked 12 hours a day, six days a week for a wood wholesaler. He made $140 a week. On the Strip the hardest part of the job is merely standing, something a comfortable pair of shoes can solve.

And yet the quality of life here is lacking.

Back home, there was never a shortage of cheap fruit and vegetables that grow in abundance along the Gulf Coast. There was never a shortage of cheap meat, which is sold in just about any road side market.

Here, he has adopted U.S. dietary habits and has grown accustomed to eating processed foods. The prices are too high for fresh food and his wages are simply too low, he said.

There was a time, back in the boom times of the ’90s, that Mexicans would return home with a good sum of money and buy up land where they once lived.

That’s no longer the case, Garcia Vicente said.

He is not sure what he will do in Mexico once he returns. He knows he doesn’t want to cut wood. But he is optimistic that he will find something.

And he is happy that he will see his family and friends again. The sense of community to be had there outweighs the prospect of unemployment.

“Here, I can always get a job, and I can always come back. It’s just time to go home,” he said. “I worked on a ranch, and I’m hoping to get work back on the ranch again.

“I miss Mexico, I miss the people, I miss the community there.”

ad-high_impact_4
News
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County School Board president Deanna Wright on travel expenses
Clark County School Board President Deanna Wright says she followed proper expense protocol in trip to Florida last year.
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Shooting leaves 1 dead in southeast valley
A man was found fatally shot in the doorway of a squatter apartment after an argument ended in gunfire on Sunday night. Officers responded about 10:30 p.m. to the Silver Pines apartments and discovered the man in a breezeway in one of the buildings. The wounded man died at the scene, despite the efforts of another person, who tried to administer medical aid. Witnesses saw a man and a woman flee the scene, but were unable to give police a clear description.
North Las Vegas unveils new school crosswalk
North Las Vegas councilman Isaac Barron talks about the new school crosswalk in front of CP Squires Elementary School Monday, August 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
LVMPD Briefing on OIS #13
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly held a press conference to discuss details of the 13th officer-involved-shoot for the department in 2018. Video shows the moments before the suspect was shot. The shooting, which has been edited out, occurred as the suspect lunged at an officer outside the apartment. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sedan and semitrailer collide in south Las Vegas
An early Wednesday morning crash has left one person in critical condition. A sedan and semitrailer collided around 4 a.m. at the corner of Spencer Street and Serene Avenue. Police do not believe impairment is a factor in the crash. Spencer has been blocked off north of Serene while police continue their investigation.
Cybersecurity Professionals Flock to Las Vegas for Black Hat
Black Hat USA, the largest annual cybersecurity conference, is expecting a record 17,000 attendees during its six-day run at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center this week. One thing attendees have in mind is making sure they don't get hacked while they're there. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police chase ends with suspects captured in east Las Vegas
An early Tuesday morning chase ended with a car crash in an east Las Vegas neighborhood. Police were pursuing the vehicle, which they say was involved in robberies in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, when the driver crashed at Owens and Statz Street. A man was taken into custody. A woman was ejected from a vehicle and taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The intersection at Mojave Road and Owens Avenue was shut down while police officers searched for the suspect and investigated. The intersection will remain closed for most of the morning.
Record number participate in Touro University Nevada White Coat Ceremony
Three hundred sixty-five medical students received their white coats during the Touro University Nevada White Coat Ceremony at the M Resort in Henderson Monday. The ceremony was developed to honor students in osteopathic medicine, physician assistant studies, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy as they accept the professional responsibilities inherent in their relationship with patients. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stop for school buses, urges CCSD
Clark County School District Police Department hold a mock traffic stop at Centennial High School in Las Vegas, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Work Begins at Las Vegas Community Healing Garden
Crews moved the wooden Remembrance Wall at the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden on South Casino Center Boulevard Monday. Construction on a permanent wall is set to begin within the week. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Man wounded outside Cottages apartment
Las Vegas police don't have a motive after a man was shot early Monday morning outside a northwest valley apartment. The man's mother called police to say her son had been shot. She called police around 1:15 a.m. Other people were inside the apartment but no one else was injured. Police are still looking for the shooter.
Ride new Interstate 11 segment in one minute
Interstate 11 opens to the public Thursday, providing sweeping views of Lake Mead, art deco-style bridges and a mural illustrating the construction of Hoover Dam. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Miss El Tiempo 2019
Miss Teen El Tiempo and Miss El Tiempo 2019 were crowned at Sam's Town Saturday, August 4, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Las Vegas Woman Raises Awareness for Anxiety and Depression
Cassi Davis was diagnosed with anxiety and depression after the birth of her second child. After seeking help and support, she felt that there wasn't enough for support for those living day in and day out for those with mood disorders. She created the Crush Run, set for Sept. 22, to raise money for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and bring together a community of people who live with the same conditions she does. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas marks the opening of Tropical Parkway connector
The City of North Las Vegas, Nevada Department of Transportation and other partners celebrated the opening of the Tropical Parkway connector to Interstate 15 and the Las Vegas Beltway. The stretch of road will make access easier for distribution centers for Amazon, Sephora and other companies moving into an 1,100-acre industrial area rising near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bighorn sheep with West Temple in background at Zion National Park
A bighorn sheep walks through Zion National Park (National Park Service)
Adult Superstore location closes after 45 years
The Adult Superstore on Main Street has closed its doors for good after 45 years. The shop, which offered a multitude of adult toys, novelty items and movies, opened in 1973. Four other locations remain open. A note on the front door tells customers, “We can’t fully express our sorrow.” Adult Superstore was awarded Best of Las Vegas adult store by the Review-Journal in 2016 and 2017 .
Funeral held for Las Vegas corrections officer
Department of Public Safety Correctional Officer Kyle Eng died July 19 after a fight with an inmate at the Las Vegas Jail. A funeral was held for Eng at Canyon Ridge Christian Church Monday, July 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What Back-To-School Shopping Is Like For a CCSD Parent and Teacher
Laura LeBowsky, a CCSD special education teacher and mother of two, set out to shop for her children's supply lists at her local Walmart and Target. She was looking for deals to try to keep the total under $150, while also allowing Chloe, 8, and Brady, 6, some choice in what they wanted. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Businesses struggle to fill food manufacturing jobs
Chelten House is a family-owned food manufacturing company from New Jersey. They created a facility in Vegas five years ago and have struggled to find experienced workers in the area. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LeBron heckler crosses line, altercation erupts
NBA superstar LeBron James, his wife, Savannah, and daughter Zhuri were at Liberty High School to watch Bronny James in action Wednesday night. But an unruly fan wearing a Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey heckled the newest Los Angeles Laker. The man screamed at event security with LeBron and his family about 150 feet away. The man had to be restrained, triggering a brief altercation with security. James and his family were escorted out a side door along with Bronny's team, the North Coast Blue Chips. Event officials canceled the game between the Blue Chips and Nike Meanstreets.
Las Vegas Oddities Shop in Downtown Las Vegas
Las Vegas Oddities shop owner Vanessa VanAlstyne describes what's for sale in one of the weirder and wackier stores in Downtown Las Vegas. The store opened less than a year ago and carries everything from human bones to "rogue" taxidermy to Victorian death photography. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trying to Staying Cool in the Las Vegas Heat
Cooling stations like Cambridge Recreation Center's opened across the Las Vegas Valley this week after the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for the area. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MountainView's nurses protest outside hospital
MountainView Hospital's nurses affiliated with the Nevada chapter of the national Nurses Organizing Committee picketed outside MountainView Hospital Tuesday to urge the hospital to address high turnover rates and understaffing. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Excessive Heat Slams Las Vegas This Week
The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for Tuesday, July 24 through Thursday, July 26 in Las Vegas. People are reminded to limit outdoor activity, drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen. Visit weather.gov/heat for more heat safety tips. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Burning car in Las Vegas Spaghetti Bowl
Firefighters extinguish a burning car on the Martin Luther King offramp from northbound Interstate 15 in the Spaghetti Bowl in Las Vegas on July 23, 2018.
Fire Department Issues Warning About Water Safety
Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Buchanan made a public safety announcement about water safety after Clark County Fire responded to 27 calls that were classified as drowning incidents between May 1 and July 20. Clark County Fire, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue and North Las Vegas Fire responded to 55 total calls during the same time. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taxpayer-funded LVCVA boss negotiating exit pay despite criminal investigation
CEO Rossi Ralenkotter is the third-highest-paid public official in the state He has a pay and benefits package valued at $863,000 annually. Ralenkotter does not have an employment contract He announced his retirement in mid June, amid a scandal over airline gift cards LVCVA bought $90,000 in Southwest Airline gift cards between 2012 and 2017. Now auditors can’t account for more than $50,000 of the cards. Ralenkotter and his family used $16,207 in gift cards on 56 trips. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, was responsible for buying and distributing the cards. He recently resigned. Ralenkotter's retirement settlement package could cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Local
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like