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For offspring of migrants to US, having children can wait

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Brenda Jasso, left, poses with daughter Citlali de la Rosa (and their pet) at home in El Monte, California./AFP
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Nov 09, 2022 - 10:25 AM

LOS ANGELES — Family was the top priority for Brenda Jasso when she immigrated from Mexico to the United States at the age of 25, with the first of her three children already in tow.

Her eldest child is now the same age but says a family can wait. For her, it’s all about a career.

“If my workload is more than 50 hours a week, what time am I going to give to a baby?” asks her daughter, Citlali de La Rosa.

As the Earth’s population teeters on eight billion, more people are choosing — or being forced — to migrate in search of resources or opportunities for themselves and their families.

In some communities, this has shifted traditional priorities.

Born in Mexico but raised in Los Angeles, De La Rosa believes that her experience as the daughter of migrant parents in a first-world country molded her into a woman focused on professional growth.

She is not alone in finding the idea of a large family outdated.

The front yards on her street in Los Angeles are no longer crowded with children as they were in her childhood, and the neighborhood school was forced to shut down.

“None of the neighbors here that I grew up with have had children,” she says.

While De La Rosa says she is sure of her pro-career stance, her mother believes it will change.

“I didn’t have time either,” she says, “But as soon as the first one comes along, it’s different.”

But De La Rosa insists that “work is my baby.”

Care for siblings 

Brenda Jasso came to the United States in the 1990s, when her daughter was three years old.

Her husband wanted to leave their central Mexican homeland to try his luck in their richer neighbor to the north.

Reluctantly, Jasso followed “to keep the family together.”

Two more children came along once they got to the United States — siblings that De La Rosa had to care for while both her parents were at work.

“It was something that made me reflect that I didn’t want that life,” she said.

“I didn’t want to spend time away from my children.”

De La Rosa, who lives with her boyfriend, does not rule out having “one child” in the future.

“But I don’t see myself having a large family, even less so because of where we live and the state of the economy.”

She says she talks about it with friends her age, along with worries over the future of an already-crowded planet.

There’s also the worry of not quite fitting in, as the children of migrants.

“Part of me feels in limbo. Los Angeles is all I know… but I still don’t click with the environment because even being here all my life, I feel I don’t have the same rights,” she says.

Loss of family life 

Jasso finds her daughter’s attitude quite alien.

“We didn’t think like that,” she says.

“First we had the children, then we wondered how to make it work.”

But she says she understands the impact migration had on her children.

“That longing you have to come to this country, to give your children the best, sometimes makes you lose that family life.

“You don’t have time to be with your children because you have two jobs.

“I don’t think we Latinos can keep up with the pace here.”

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