The streets of Puerto Vallarta, next to San Juan de Abajo/Stan Shebs
While President Trump plans to spend gobs of tax dollars to send soldiers to the border in a bid to convince his most loyal supporters that he’s making an effort to honor his promise to build a wall on the border, Maria Elena Dueñas is making plans for a better life—in Mexico.
Dueñas is one of a number of Los Angeles residents profiled in a Los Angeles Times story about Mexicans who came to their city for a better life, only to see the quality of life deteriorate as their homeland thrives. San Juan de Abajo is constantly making improvements to the cityscape, and with a thriving tourist industry the population has almost doubled over the last seven years.
“I always say they’re doing better than we’re doing here,” she told the Times. “My family lives better than we do.”
Dueñas and many other residents of Los Angeles’ Lincoln Heights neighborhood come from San Juan de Abajo, which sits in the hills along a beautiful stretch of Pacific coastline near Puerto Vallarta.
More Mexicans are leaving the U.S. than coming here, the Times points out, and only 14% of them are forced by deportation. The largest reason, 61%, is people who miss their family. Another 18% is “other,” which may include living in paradise.
Dueñas children went to college, including a son currently at Stanford. Her grandchildren, American citizens, are part of what keeps her in America, despite the lower quality of life.