President Trump’s efforts to curb illegal immigration, and his rhetoric, are not just affecting working-class communities and those without legal status. It has created a sense of uncertainty among legal and wealthy immigrant communities as well.
A year ago, Perla Soto wrote a guidebook to help Mexicans coming to The Woodlands understand how things work in America.
In the introduction, she explained why so many of her wealthy countrymen were drawn to life 30 miles north of Houston.
There was the allure of large, beautiful homes caressed by the shadows of slash pines and bald cypresses. All those parks and golf courses and dozens of lakes and ponds. Good schools. And few worries about crime in what people jokingly call “la colonia más segura de México,” or Mexico’s safest town.
Soto and “los woodlandeses,” as they are called in Spanish, have boosted the area’s economy, spending billions on homes and several hundred million more on new businesses, taxes, cars and other goods in the last 10 years, according to Viva The Woodlands Magazine. More than 10,000 Mexicans now live there, representing about 10 percent of the population.
But these days, the immigration pattern is reversing. Fewer Mexicans are coming to live in The Woodlands, and more are moving back to Mexico.
Tony Payán, the director of the Mexican Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute, cites the weakness of the Mexican peso as one factor, but he says that’s not the only reason.
President Donald Trump’s efforts to curb illegal immigration, and his rhetoric, are not just affecting working-class communities and those without legal status, Payán said.
“It has created a sense of uncertainty among legal and wealthy immigrant communities such as The Woodlands as well,” he said.
It’s what Soto calls “The Trump factor.”
And that’s driving even her and her family back home.
Continue reading the story here. Watch photos and videos of locals talking about a recent surge of discriminatory behaviors against minorities in the area. Locals “Feel that having a president who has repeatedly offended Mexicans, and immigrants in general, has given de facto permission to some people to act out on previously suppressed sentiments.”
This story was published by the Houston Chronicle.