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Are fewer Mexicans crossing the border to the United States?

Sonia Plaza's picture

Migration flows in both directions between the United States and Mexico have diminished according to recent statistics released by the Mexican and United States governments.

Mexican immigration to the United States began to decline in the mid-2006, and that pattern has continued into 2010. The Pew Hispanic Center analysis of Mexican government data indicates that the number of Mexicans annually leaving Mexico for the U.S. declined from more than one million in 2006 to 404,000 in 2010. Rand Corporation also found that the Mexican immigrants returning to Mexico have not increased despite the crisis. 

It seems that U.S has become a less attractive place for Mexican migrants.  Some of the factors that explain the decline of new immigrants include: the crisis that it is affecting job possibilities, increased border enforcement by the US, the anti-immigrant measures in some states (e.g., Arizona), and an increase in the number of criminal activity in the borders.

The impact of strongest border controls has reduced the circularity of Mexican migration. Before, Mexicans used to go back to Mexico and come back to the U.S. when there was demand for labor.  With the new enforcement and criminal acts on the U.S.-Mexico border, there are lesser returns. Recent numbers from the US Office of Immigration Statistics showed that border patrol apprehensions in 2010 were at their lowest level since 1972 and fewer people are trying to cross the south border.  Although there are trying new entry points (e.g. by boat to California). 

The Assistant Secretary of Mexico’s Population, Migration and Religious Affairs, René Zenteno Quintero also stated that illegal migration to the U.S has dropped. Zenteno underscored that in 2005, “about 500,000 Mexican nationals made their way into the U.S. illegally and within the last two years between 100,000 to 200,000 continued unauthorized crossings into the U.S”.

Despite the adjustment in the flows, the stock of Mexican migrants has not been affected.



Submitted by Anonymous on
The crisis in the USA, increased border control, and criminal activity in the border are the only factors that this blog seems to list as the origin of decline in Mexican migrants. I think this is an extremely narrow view. Have you reviewed what is the impact of economic growth in Mexico, social protection programs, reduced population growth, and other factors that seem to make Mexico a more attractive place to stay for these people who did not have any other possibility in the past than to emigrate to the USA ?

Submitted by Bernardo Trevino on
I´m not quite sure if the inmigration has decrease in the last couple of years but in Mexico the sensation is the same. There are plenty of people leaving Mexico and trying to enter the United States. Unfortunately for them it seems that the United States of America has a lot of economic problems. I strongly agree the idea that the inmigrants have better conditions in Mexico than in the USA. The real problem in Mexico is that the goverment has not provide the country with the legal conditions to do of Mexico an attractive country for international investment. Moreover, Mexico has pleny f problems in the security topic and Americas is not interesed in change his position and help the country but it looks like Mexico is changing maybe at a slow ppace but it´s better than nothing and that is why I personally think that in the next decade Mexico could be an importante coountry to propel the economic growth in the zone.

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