Mexico-US migration slips after 40 years of growth

Migrants arriving at Nuevo Laredo, in the US (file pic) Tougher US border enforcement has kept away some illegal migrants

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The rate of Mexican immigration to the US has stalled or maybe even gone into reverse, an analysis shows, ending a four-decade-long trend.

A Pew Hispanic Center study shows immigration began to slow five years ago and may have reversed by 2010.

Economic factors, increased border control, and lower Mexican birth rates were all cited as factors.

More than 12 million migrants entered the US from Mexico since 1970, more than half legally, the report says.

"Looking back over the entire span of US history, no country has ever seen as many of its people immigrate to this country as Mexico has in the past four decades," the report's authors note.

However, figures clearly show major changes to the long-term trend over the years 2005-2010.

A decade earlier, from 1995-2000, some 2.9 million Mexicans arrived in the US, with just 670,000 people leaving the country for Mexico - a net influx to the US of more than 2.2 million people.

Between 2005-2010, though, just 1.37 million arrived from Mexico - and 1.39 million left to cross the southern border.

"While it is not possible to say so with certainty, the trend lines within this latest five-year period suggest that return flow to Mexico probably exceeded the inflow from Mexico during the past year or two."


The downward trend includes a sharp reduction in the number of illegal Mexican migrants living in the US, the report says.

The numbers of unauthorised Mexicans living in the US fell from nearly seven million in 2007 to 6.1 million in 2011, according to estimates based on US census data.

During those years the numbers of legal Mexican migrants in the US rose slightly, increasing by 200,000 to 5.8 million.

The data tallies with previous figures released by the US government that showed the Obama administration deporting record numbers of illegal immigrants for three successive years from 2009.

According to data in the Pew report, a "significant minority" of the 1.3 million people - between 5% and 35% - who left the US for Mexico did not leave the country voluntarily.

The issue of immigration is a sensitive one in a presidential election year.

New immigration laws in several states, including Alabama and Arizona, have placed a heavy focus on efforts to crack down on illegal immigration by requiring individuals to present valid US documents.

Backers of the new laws say the requirement to present documents encourages people without the legal right to be in the US to leave the country of their own accord.

That process of attrition was referred to as "self-deportation" during this year's Republican primary season.

Arizona's law is being challenged in the US Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney polls badly among Latino voters, while President Barack Obama generally retains broad support despite his stern deportation policy.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    To my fellow Mexicans...the US did not write the rules of war. The loser pays, simple. So, we have the land. In all of history this has been done. Most recent Germany in WWi and WWII. They paid tremendously. Mexico lost a war with the US, they must pay. EXCEPT THIS TIME THE US GOES AGAINST THE RULES and pays Mexico for the land, though they lost the war. What more do you want?

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.


    Not to mention the coming new Amero currency too.

    Merely a year ago we were told that US$ is junk, and that the next global currency is going to be euro.

    Look at the EuroZone now.

    We were also told that China is the next global superpower with US in a mortal decline.

    And look: export/dumping-based PRC economy is slowing down.

    While US one is accelerating.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.


    If the shoe were on the other foot, dont insult my intelligence and say you would not do the same as Mexicans!

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    The assests of companies or individuals found to be breaking the law by employing illegals need to seized, individuals imprisoned.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    LucyJ, don't tell fairy tales, it just makes you seem foolish.
    The plant was in the Northern Mid-west and has since gone bankrupt.
    Interestingly, it was a kosher plant.
    Stakeholder, what a lame term "stakeholder" thankfully it is mostly passè.
    It would appear the editors like "imprison and heavily fine cheating."
    Must be law and order folks. Taste in the mouth and what not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    Ultimately what is illegal immigration about?

    Getting people to do one of the toughest jobs
    for the lowest amount of wages

    Personally I consider illegal immigration as modern day slavery

    Employers can legally hire Mexican Guest workers
    but that would mean they have to pay Minimum wage

    The question is:
    Are Americans for or against illegal immigration slavery?

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    Too many unjust laws exist to enslave us in the USA! I don't agree with the immigration laws. They are there to allow the criminal exploitation of a minority, making them a lesser class of a human being. You work; you pay and are entitled to humanitarian means whatever race of human being you are. I don't see an lesser number but instead a increase in the number of minorities entering the USA.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Just the other day I was reading about a meat-packing plant in the South
    the Feds raided+found it was all illegal immigrants working there

    A week later the same plant hired all Americans

    They say illegal immigrants do jobs Americans don't want to do
    but I can tell you as an American
    this is not true

    Americans must compete w/ illegals for jobs every day

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    46:petoonya90210:Even if there were no illegal immigrants there would be many Mexican Americans. California, Texas, and parts of many other western states, were once part of Mexico.

    51:Tim0thy:I agree that the rich should be more concerned about the poor people, especially about the American working people whom the rich support through entitlements even while those poor work.

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    First generation Mexicans are considered hard working. The problem is that employers of illegal aliens (the correct legal term) have created a caste system. Illegal aliens do work Americans refuse to do at illegal alien wages. Former middle class union meat packing and construction jobs are filled by illegal aliens.The solution is to imprison and heavily fine cheating employers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    @powermeerkat #36

    "Correction: NFTA, etc. was never about 'open borders'."

    Nor was the European Community to begin with..but gradually came the union, the constitution, the (legal) open border policies to mention the EURO and gradual loss of sovereignty. I take it you haven't heard about the new approaching US-Amero currency then :|

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    They discover new drug+human smuggling tunnels, armored trucks+ dangerous violence Mexican drug cartel gangs everyday

    No one can say they know how many illegal immigrants are in USA
    b/c they are here illegally

    Either USA is a nation of laws or we aren't

    In USA no one is supposed to be above the law

    Illegal immigration is a crime
    which means
    every illegal immigrant is a criminal

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    and if Obama gets in again then the immigration may just swing the other way !

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    These statistics aren't really all that surprising. Most illegally entering Mexicans picked up jobs that Americans didn't want to do themselves (landscaping and yard-maintenance or non-unionized construction work) with the economic downturn though, people have turned to either,
    1) Doing those jobs themselves, rather than hiring a service


    2) Take up the jobs in an abysmal job market.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    What these staistics indicate is the application of federal laws in the field that were flouted for so long. This is thanks to the action of individual states that have put the federal authorities on the spot as being deliberately negligent in upholding the law. There is also an increased public intolerance at the previous laxity on illegal migrants that has become a national political issue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    My numbers were wrong, too. According to the US census bureau, Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010. 75% were Mexican. That's 11.4 million Mexicans between 2000 and 2010. The article claims 12 million since 1970. It's wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Someone said that you can be against illegal immigration & not be a racist, but you can expect all the racists to jump on your wagon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Hispanic and Latino are meaningless words. Ask the Florida Cubans what they think of the Illegal stampede from Mexico.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    I would disagree. It's not the paying a minimum wage to people that's the problem, it's the fact that those with the wealth in the USA don't give a damn about the average American. All that matters is the bottom line and if that means your jobs get shipped overseas that's what will happen and the immigrants are no longer coming it would appear.


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