Beyond the Border: Economic Forces at Work

Beyond the Border: Economic Forces at Work

Poverty in Small Towns Driving Latinos to Find Work in the United States

Recently, WBTV's Sarah Batista spent a week in Mexico to examine the economic situation there in an effort to learn more about what is driving illegal immigration.

During our newscast on Monday evening, Batista introduced us to a 72-year-old Mexican woman who has never even been to school.

She lives in the tiny town of Dolores Hidalgo which is located high atop a mountain in Mexico.  The town is so poverty-stricken, few outsiders venture here.

Maria Luisa-Garcia has spent all of her life on this moutaintop.  She said she'd like to build another house, but doesn't have the money to do so.

She built her current house with the money her son earned as a construction worker in the United States.  It is bigger than her old one.

Only 9 of her 17 children are still living.

The two who worked in the United States are back in their hometown now and the money has stopped coming.

Garcia says she has never worked outside the home and her husband is too ill to work.

With the little money she earns from selling eggs, Garcia buys corn.  Inside her small home, she makes homemade tortillas everyday and that's all they eat.  She drinks water from the well.

But riches in these tiny Mexican towns aren't measured by material things.  Family and faith is what's most important.

Even though she wishes she had more, Garcia said she is content because, for now, all of her children are home.

"Pues si estoy contenta," she said which in English means, "I am happy because they are here."