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freeway crossingReverse migration—a wave of Hispanic immigrants who are returning from the United States to their homelands—is being driven by more than a lack of jobs here. Deportations, drug cartel brutality and new economic opportunities elsewhere are also factors.

gonzalez franciscoFrancisco GonzalezAlthough calls for immigration reform continue, and it remains a hot-button political issue, the actual numbers of people entering the United States illegally has dropped sharply in recent years, according to Francisco Gonzalez, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C He was a featured presenter at the annual Latino Health Forum in Santa Rosa Oct. 11.

latinohealthforumLeading would-be immigrants through the hidden routes into the US is now a much more dangerous undertaking, explains Gonzalez, but for the travelers more than their guides.

Despite its large Hispanic population, California has not experienced reverse migration to the same extent as other, more urbanized states, explains Gonzalez, because they represent as much as three quarters of the agricultural workforce here.