US Citizenship Denied, Illegal Brazilians Head Home

'You can't spend your life waiting to be legal'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2007 7:58 PM CST
Lucimar Franco, 30, of Goiania, Goias; her son, Alex Franco, 2 who was born in the United States, and her husband's brother, Weslly Pereira, 16, pose in their empty house in Riverside, New Jersey. More...   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Anti-immigrant crackdowns have partly succeeded, the New York Times reports, citing a wave of returning middle-class Brazilian illegals. Faced with no way to renew driver's licenses and no hope of legalization, many are going home, where economic conditions aren’t half bad. “Why should you stay if you have a place like Brazil, where there’s hope?” asked one Brazilian businessman.

One US dollar once bought 4 Brazilian reals—now, it buys just 1.7. But despite Brazil’s economic ascendancy, many would rather stay here, where they’ve raised families—if given a path to legality. “After the [immigration reform] law didn’t pass, all the hope went away,” said one departing Brazilian. “If we had papers, we’d stay forever.”