'Twas a much simpler time when we could explain the lack of jobs by blaming illegal immigrants for "taking our joerbs", the concept of which was spoofed on South Park in 2004 and echoed by lots of angry commentators on the CNN article accompanying the below video. Now that there are no jobs or jerbs for anyone, and no more jobs Americans won't do, the migrant workers are heading home.
I must admit that it deeply saddens me that the American Dream is failing even the most desperate (and arguably hard-working) community. An American dollar goes a long way in the 3rd world, and for countries like Ecuador where I've heard from friends (but can't find evidence online) that their 3rd largest revenue-generating export after bananas and flowers are Ecuadorians working abroad and sending their money back home.
After spending time in Ecuador in 2006 and seeing what a 3rd world country is like first hand, any negative view I may have harbored about illegal immigrants totally went away (after years of already being pretty liberal about it). Witnessing extreme poverty--women washing clothes knee-deep in the river, children doing cartwheels in traffic for pennies, eating in the only restaurant in town that was actually someone's personal kitchen--made me realize that I was 100% fine with people breaking US law to work here in order to provide a better life for their families at home.
Now that's not a viable reality for many, and I hope that the individuals that want to go back to their countries can get there, and that they will be able to provide for their families once they return.
And I hope that as our economy recovers, there will be Americans willing and able to take on the work of our lost workers.