In the rural community of San Nicolas, in Guanajuato, Mexico, Ermilinda Guerrero Lopez's husband is no longer able to send as much money home as he has for the past 20 years.
With immigration officials cracking down on undocumented workers and the U.S. economy slowing in some sectors, the amount of money being sent back to immigrants' homes has fallen. That has caused difficulties that are starting to harm those economies.
Figures from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement show that 2007 is on pace to be a record year for deportations.
According to their measurements, between October 2006 and March of this year, the United States has deported more than 120,000 people. A year ago during the same period, the number was about 93,000. In 2005, it was just 81,000.
The majority of deportees are being sent back to Mexico, where the bulk of undocumented migrants originate. And some of the towns they come from — are feeling the strain, financially.
In the state of Guanajuato in Mexico, a recent visit to INTERMEX, a company that pays out remittances to families who have relatives working in other countries, the counters were completely empty, except for the tellers.
If remittances fall, it is a problem not only for families, who say they are struggling to make ends meet. It's a problem for this whole country. Money sent by migrant workers is the second-largest source of foreign income in Mexico, only exceeded by oil revenue.