San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Fewer Central Americans emigrating amid crisis

Mexico deported 37.3 percent fewer Central Americans last month than in January 2008, according to Guatemalan immigration authorities. The Central Americans were presumably passing through Mexico seeking new opportunities in the United States.

In January 2009, Mexico sent back 4,916 such emigrants, compared to 6,750 during the same month last year.

Of last month´s deportees, almost half were Guatemalan nationals, followed by Hondurans (1,744), Salvadorans (759) and Nicaraguans (97).

In January 2007, however, no Nicaraguan was turned away.

Guatemala´s list consists only of those deportees sent back by land across the Mexican-Guatemalan border.

The immigration authorities said in a statement that the decrease is likely a result of the sharp economic downturn and escalating unemployment in the United States, as the final hoped-for destination for migrants is rendered less attractive.

The International Labor Organization reported that migrants´ remittances from the U.S. make up about 5 percent of Central America´s economy.

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