Leaving home to build a home

Impoverished, difficult to access and desperate for help, many residents of Guerrero, Mexico, have to come rely on the support of relatives working illegally in New York. Modesto Lopez lives in Xalpatlahuac,

News 12 Staff

Nov 9, 2007, 12:28 AM

Updated 6,097 days ago

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Impoverished, difficult to access and desperate for help, many residents of Guerrero, Mexico, have to come rely on the support of relatives working illegally in New York.
Modesto Lopez lives in Xalpatlahuac, which is part of Guerrero, Mexico's poorest state. Lopez, whose three children live and work in New York, is one of the few men left in the town. He is currently building a two-story house with the money sent by his children.
"They left because they had a need. Each one had a need to build a house," Lopez says.
Thirty miles north is Tlapa, another town with similar struggles. With only dirt roads connecting Tlapa to more developed locales, it is cut off from many government services and health care.
"Life for us is difficult and there are no jobs," says Bardomiano de la Cruz, who has two sons living illegally in New York. "It's easier in the U.S. For $20 you can buy food for your whole family and you can have a decent meal, but here in Mexico with 20 pesos, you can't buy anything."
Tourino Morales returned to Tlapa after earning $500 a week as a busboy in Manhattan. It was a difficult decision, and he now has trouble supporting his wife and 1-year-old son on 900 pesos a week - about $90.


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