A few months ago a Nigerian immigrant wrote to me about his difficulties staying afloat.
In his letter, he noted that after losing his job he has faced difficulties receiving unemployment benefits. He argued that for some Americans – namely immigrants – the recession is hitting them harder than other groups.
While that point is certainly debatable, there is one new fact both sides can’t ignore: Many African immigrants are returning back to their respective home countries.
While we are accustomed to viewing dreary depictions of Africa, those there are becoming quite comfortable with their living situations.
Recent studies by the Pew Research Center show people’s level of satisfaction with their quality of life has risen all across the continent of Africa.
By contrast, attitudes for Americans have remained stagnant if not decreased.
Between that and a sense of optimism about the future of individual African countries’ economies, and it’s clear why some Nigerians, Ghanaians, Kenyans, and others have decided they’d rather deal with an unstable internet connection than an unstable nation.
Joining them are Chinese and Indian natives who no longer feel they have to leave their respective home countries to get ahead.
Even many Mexican immigrants have started to flee the country due to our sour economy.
America has long been known as the country where anything as possible.
The entire world has looked to us as a beacon of hope of what could be. One of American’s greatest strengths is that it’s become a melting pot of the world.
What does it say about the future of this country if those who came here with a sense of optimism are now leaving with a newfound distrust in the American promise?
And when that reader expressed disappointment in how he feels immigrants are treated in his country, could he possibly be better off back where he started?
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Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.