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Yucatecans discouraged from seeking new opportunities in U.S.

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A demonstration earlier this month at a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico makes a point with puppets. Photo: Getty

The year has seen few Yucatecans crossing the border illegally to the United State, said the president of the Federation of Yucatecan Clubs of Northern California.

In San Francisco, where Yucatecan workers had often found menial jobs in kitchens, “there are no countrymen to wash dishes in restaurants,” said Ángel Granados Ontiveros.

“There is a shortage of migrants in California, the border crossing is difficult. According to reports from the civilians, the cost went up to 300,000 pesos,” said Granados Ontiveros. “… the more difficult the crossing is, the higher the price.”

The Trump administration has also discouraged immigration, ramping up round-ups of undocumented immigrants regardless of age or criminal history, expanding detention space and stepping up workplace raids.

Officials have also restricted the number of refugees allowed into the country while pushing to speed the deportation cases of hundreds of thousands of immigrants awaiting legal decisions.

Granados Ontiveros said that currently in the San Francisco Bay area there are 56,000 Yucatecans. But this year, the arrival of migrants to California decreased markedly.

“Now, in hotels and restaurants in San Francisco, it is difficult to find migrants to wash dishes, many are not going because the ‘fee’ for the border crossing shot up to 300,000 pesos. The ‘coyotes’ raised the price. Ten years ago the cost of the crossing was much lower, but at this moment it is difficult for people to pay for that,” he said.

Granados Ontiveros explained that the majority of Yucatecans living in San Francisco work in hotels and restaurants as cooks.

Of four existing Yucatecan restaurants in San Francisco, the owners are Americans and Asians, but the cooks and all the staff are of Yucatecan origin, he said.

Sources: Newsweek, Sipse

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