LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Pedro Pablo slowly folds up his American flag blanket and stuffs it in his duffel bag. With it goes his American dream.
Pedro Pablo, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, headed home recently due to the bad U.S. economy.
"I left my family and lost four years with them. I will ask them to forgive me," he said.
Pablo is an illegal immigrant from Guatemala who came to the United States to support his wife and five sons back home. When he arrived, construction jobs were plentiful. Over the last year, he says, he's worked three days.
He recently boarded a bus with a one-way ticket home, paid for by the Guatemalan consulate in Los Angeles. "I thought I could get ahead here. I regret coming." Video Watch day laborers head home »
Across the United States, tens of thousands of immigrants -- those here legally and illegally -- are facing a similar dilemma: Do they continue to search for jobs in a struggling U.S. economy or return home to an even bleaker economic situation?
"Things are very dire, and I think it's impacting those at the very bottom even more so," said Abel Valenzuela, a professor at the University of California-Los Angeles who has spent years studying day laborers.
"Day laborers are being really, really impacted."