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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Daily Herald: Exodus from Mexico

Daily Herald: Exodus from Mexico

About this series
Like so many before them, Mexicans come here seeking the promise that is America. The largest minority group in the suburbs, state and nation, Mexicans are flowing across the border. The exodus from Mexico to the United States has reached epic proportion, more than doubling from 2 million in 1990 to more than 4.8 million in 2000. More and more Mexicans are following their relatives, settling in the job-rich Northwest and West suburbs, than ever before. A recent Roosevelt University study showed the number of suburban Mexican immigrants - 290,000 - more than tripled from 1990 to 2000. And while some anti-immigration activists fight to stem that tide, the influx already has changed the texture, color and flavor of suburban neighborhoods. For that reason, the Daily Herald sent a team of Spanish-speaking journalists to Mexico to help us better understand what compels our Mexican neighbors to literally leave family behind and risk their lives and legal status to cross the border and begin again.

Sunday: A jarring journey
Wheeling resident Betty Vasquez and Round Lake Beach resident Edgar Gonzalez walked for days through a dangerous desert to escape stifling poverty.

Monday: Anybody home?
Nearly an entire town's population has left the quaint Quiringuicharo countryside to crowd into one Rolling Meadows neighborhood.

Tuesday: Unequal rights
As a girl growing up on remote Rancho Santa Rosa, Cary resident Lupe Schoffstall never heard the word "school." It was years before she would encounter a book. For many women in rural Mexico today, equal opportunity remains a foreign concept.

Wednesday: Electioneering
Suburban residents fight for change in an evolving Mexican political system, but corruption and single-party control still rule immigrants' memories.

Thursday: A better tomorrow
Suburban immigrants and their relatives work together in cultural communities to make a better life for those they've left behind.

Write to us
The Daily Herald invites letters to the editor about the Mexico series. Letters (300-word limit) must be signed and include your town and a daytime phone number for verification. E-mail: fencepost@dailyherald.com. Fax: (847-427-1301. Mail: Fence Post, P.O. Box 280, Arlington Heights, IL 60006.

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