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03/30/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Mexican Migrants Return Home As US Economy Suffers

Every Saturday for nearly four years, Elena Trujillo has gone to the local department store in Morelia, Michoacán, to pick up money wired home by her 34-year-old son, Ángel. This 59-year-old mother of three is one of the between 16 and 35 million Mexicans who depend on remittances from relatives in the United States to boost their incomes. But in late September -- for Trujillo and for countless others -- the wire transfers stopped coming. Confused at first, Trujillo was reassured by Ángel on the phone: Everything is OK; I have a surprise for you. The next week, Trujillo received another transfer, this one much larger than normal. She was ecstatic. Ángel's construction work must finally be paying dividends, she thought. Then, just a few days later, Ángel came back to Michoacán. "I couldn't believe it. He had given up and come home," Trujillo said. "He had given up on the American Dream."

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