Have Mexicans quit coming to the U.S. illegally?

Could a combination of tougher immigration laws, our stagnant economy and improving prospects at home mean illegal immigration to the U.S. from Mexico is at a standstill? That’s what the Christian Science Monitor reports in a fascinating article about Mexicans who came to the U.S. illegally and have now returned home.

The article details some anecdotal examples — including a number of references to Georgia — and some interesting descriptions of the challenges for these returnees. But what really caught my eye was that there are data to back up those personal stories:

At the macroeconomic level, Douglas Massey, founder of the Mexican Migration Project at Princeton University, has documented what he calls “net zero” migration. The population of undocumented immigrants in the US fell from 12 million to approximately 11 million during the height of the financial crisis (2008-09), he says. And since then, Mexicans without documents aren’t migrating at rates to replace the loss, creating a net zero balance for the first time in 50 years.

Mexican census and household surveys analyzed by [demographer Agustin] Escobar, who is with the Binational Study on Mexican Migration, suggest migrants leaving Mexico fell from more than a million in 2005 to 368,000 in 2010.

Birth rates in Mexico are down sharply and economic growth has been hot, contributing to the improved ability for Mexicans to better their lot in life at home rather than across the Rio Grande. Michael Barone suggests economic growth in Mexico may be tied more closely to that of Texas, which has had a relatively strong economy through the downturn, rather than America as a whole. If it’s true that economic growth in Texas has resulted in economic growth in Mexico, there could be a win-win: Prosperity could increase in the years to come both in the U.S. and in Mexico without re-creating the impetus for illegal immigration and the problems that come with it.

Of course, Mexico is not the only country from which people come here illegally, so this doesn’t mean the problem is completely solved. But it is by all accounts the largest country of origin for illegals. And if there’s hope in Mexico, there’s no reason the same improvements couldn’t emerge in other parts of Latin America. So, if these trends prove true and durable, it could mean an enormous change in the immigration dynamic.

That would be true both on the ground, in the effect on immigrants and Americans, and in politics. If we were to solve the problem of new illegal immigration, it would completely change the political conversation about how to deal with those already here and how political parties engage Hispanics — not all of whom, of course, were or care foremost about illegal immigrants.

– By Kyle Wingfield

Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter

93 comments Add your comment

Sherlock

April 11th, 2012
11:26 am

Probably not first. I read the post.

@@

April 11th, 2012
11:44 am

I’m sad to see them go, and wish them the very best upon their return home.

We could use more like Pedro Laguna…a hard working, entrepreneurial family man, who recognizes America’s wealth of opportunities.

JKL2

April 11th, 2012
11:45 am

With the obama plan to make the dollar worth a peso, it won’t be long before everyone starts moving to Mexico for the “good jobs”.

UGA 1999

April 11th, 2012
11:46 am

@@

April 11th, 2012
11:46 am

To add…

Thanks to dems, we’re stuck with a cultivated crop of I can’ts.

UGA 1999

April 11th, 2012
11:48 am

@@….you mean “I wont’s”…

Cassie

April 11th, 2012
11:51 am

We still need immigration reform, even if the number of Mexicans illegally crossing the border has been temporarily reduced. Once the U.S. ecomony improves they will of course return – the key is cracking down on the employers, not the employees. The employers have the power to hire people with proper papers – they just choose not to because it is cheaper and illegal employees are more obedient.

Only when it becomes truly disadvantageous for employers to hire illegals – as in a mandatory $250,000 fine per undocumented employee and a required six months in federal prison – will the magnet of jobs for illegals entering this country be stopped.

Junior Samples

April 11th, 2012
11:54 am

Now that Mitt has wrapped up the GOP nomination, could it be our friends south of the border see him as one of their own? Thereby the possibility of one of their own becoming the President? And then finally annexing the US into Mexico?

How about if he picks Rubio as his running mate?

Bet y’all didn’t see that coming.

UGA 1999

April 11th, 2012
12:01 pm

Junior…I have been saying nearly the entire time that Mitt could pick Rubio. That would certainly help with the latino vote that are here legally and vote legally.

DannyX

April 11th, 2012
12:02 pm

This is why George W Bush will go down as the best president ever!

His number one goal was to stop the flow of illegal immigrants. He tried to build a wall, that didn’t work, they were still coming over like crazy. W knew the only way to stop them was to destroy the economy. He then created the Great Bush Recession.

Only problem is Obama will probably hog all the glory since the flow stopped on his watch.

Thanks W

Observer

April 11th, 2012
12:03 pm

Immigrants – whether legal or illegal – wanting to go back to where they came from (rather than the other way round) is a surefire sign that this country is going down the drain.

And it’s not just Mexicans, and not just illegals, either.

Just observin’…

UGA 1999

April 11th, 2012
12:04 pm

DannyX….So now we live in the Obama Recession. Is it helping or hurting illegals from coming across the border? Oh that is right your king feels like it is better to sue states that enforce the laws!!

Dusty

April 11th, 2012
12:07 pm

Well, I am happy that Mexico’s economy has improved. Can’t think of anything better than being able to stay home with your family in your own country and make a living. Hispanics have made great contributions to our country which offsets the expense they may have brought by those illegal..

Immigrants have made this country great in so many ways throughout history. Their contributions innumerable.

Thomas Wolf, the great novelist, wrote “You Can’t Go Home Again”, the title of one of his books. Perhaps he was wrong. You can go home again. Mexicans are beginning to prove that is true.

@@

April 11th, 2012
12:12 pm

UGA:

Either/or. This is the kinda CAN DO spirit, I’m talkin’ about.

http://vimeo.com/40000072

That little fella will do just fine…maybe a millionaire one day. Then the liberals will take his money and give it to the I WON’TS.

ByteMe

April 11th, 2012
12:13 pm

Kyle, in your research did you find anything tying Mexico’s hot economics to NAFTA? Could this finally be the payoff we’ve been waiting for?

DannyX

April 11th, 2012
12:15 pm

“So now we live in the Obama Recession.”

Recession? We are not in a recession, far from it. 1st quarter growth is expected to be a healthy 2.9%, 2nd quarter is forecast at 2.8%.

No, the Mexicans are staying on their side of the border in case Romney wins in November. Romney would lead us into an era of austerity that has killed the European economy. Europe is projecting pathetic growth of only 0.4% and 0.9%.

UGA 1999

April 11th, 2012
12:15 pm

I wonder who she is voting for?

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=80f_1334154690

Sounds like she should be married to John Coffey from The Green Mile.

UGA 1999

April 11th, 2012
12:20 pm

At what point can the American people sue Obama for waisting our money on ObamaCare?

HIPPOCRIT

April 11th, 2012
12:20 pm

the Great Recession ended in June 2009 ……… thanks to Obama we are in the Great Recovery now for close to 3 years

ragnar danneskjold

April 11th, 2012
12:22 pm

I respectfully dissent from the perspective. It is not a good thing that foreigners no longer wish to come to the US. I always believed it good for the US that so many people were so desperate to enjoy the fruits of freedom that they would risk violation of the laws of the US merely to get here (and, of course, I found the arbitrary statutory limits on immigration repugnant.)

To the general thesis, I agree that the lousy US economy makes the US less attractive to foreigners. I agree that the rising police state and general decline of freedom over the past decade makes the US less attractive to foreigners. Both of those would Econ 101 themes.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 11th, 2012
12:24 pm

“thanks to Obama we are in the weakest Recovery ever for close to 3 years”

Fixed your typo, Hip.

ragnar danneskjold

April 11th, 2012
12:24 pm

Dear DannyX @ 12:15, good afternoon, perhaps we can all now agree that the Obama recovery is the worst in history, including that of the Great Depression.

online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303816504577311470997904292.html

Stupid policies produce terrible results.

HIPPOCRIT

April 11th, 2012
12:26 pm

tiberius
not a typo
just sarcasm

ragnar danneskjold

April 11th, 2012
12:28 pm

I suspect we are still in a recession – the “stimulus” falsely inflated the GDP, as government spending is credited as beneficial to the economy independent of any real benefit to the private economy. If one removes that mask, the GNP more accurately reflects the state of the private economy. The poor job growth for the past three years is revealing.

DannyX

April 11th, 2012
12:28 pm

“Stupid policies produce terrible results.”

Exactly, as I posted earlier, US growth 1st quarter 2.9% vs European growth of 0.4%.

Way to go Obama! Four more years!

ragnar danneskjold

April 11th, 2012
12:33 pm

Dear DannyX @ 12:28, please enlighten us – exactly how do Obamanomics differ from European policies? I know our growth is vastly inferior to most of Asia, and that is attributable to the erosion of freedom and expansion of government here.

Junior Samples

April 11th, 2012
12:34 pm

UGA ‘99,
I was not aware that our President kept the cash in a money belt.
:)

Dusty

April 11th, 2012
12:35 pm

What in the world would we do on this blog without liberals to give us big laughs?

Take Danny X for example. He said that Bush tried so hard to get rid of illegals that he created a great recession to do it. What next? Bush also created droughts, floods and the boll weevil? What a guy!

Then Junior Samples warns us that putting Rubio anywhere near the White House is nothing but an effort to annex us to Mexico! (And Taco Bell is really a spy system to encourage fatal obesity!)

I tell you, liberals are comedians. Then throw in AmVet for the “sky is falling” guy! Strange they neveer mention the “jokes” Obama is pulling on us, like “free” healthcare. Now that’s a laugh!

Junior Samples

April 11th, 2012
12:38 pm

You’re welcome Dusty.
Thanks for the tip about Taco Bell, I’ll check into that.

Junior Samples

April 11th, 2012
12:41 pm

Ragnar,

Asia has more freedom and less government than us?

DannyX

April 11th, 2012
12:42 pm

Looks like our immigrant problem won’t be from south of the border.

Nope, it will be Europeans escaping their horrible economies.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 11th, 2012
12:43 pm

DannyX, recoveries are not fostered by government policies, but rather the lack of them. They are not brought about by government interference, but by the attitudes of people.

The “don’t blame us”, “we never realized how bad it was”, it’s not our fault” spend into oblivion pathetic leadership style of this current Disaster-in-Chief has been exposed for what it is; lacking in virtually everything needed to recover from a severe recession.

To make himself and his policies look better, he inflates his growth numbers, artificially lowers his unemployment numbers, and spends just about 24/7 running around blaming everybody but himself for our problems. Ragnar is right. Those growth numbers reflect an artificial increase due to stimulus funds that are just about ready to end, meaning the double dip recession is about to begin. Real unemployment is at LEAST 2 percentage points higher (and more likely 7) than his administration is claiming, and more people have just given up, knowing there is no end in sight as long as he’s at the helm.

How anybody thought this completely inexperienced politician could lead a country is beyond all reason.

UGA 1999

April 11th, 2012
12:50 pm

Junior, he does and spends it faster than he can access it.

UGA 1999

April 11th, 2012
12:52 pm

Once again the president is using our money for a ridiculous purpose. The government is now going to sue Apple due to fixed E-book prices. Really? And how do you guys not think this is not a communist regime?

Dusty

April 11th, 2012
12:54 pm

Junior Samples,

“Go for it” at Taco Bell. I myself am investigating BurgerKing. Dynasty or what? They are giving free crowns!!! I’d better check another Whopper.

DannyX

April 11th, 2012
1:01 pm

“I’d better check another Whopper.”

Just read Tiberius’ 12:43. It even came with cheese.

Dusty

April 11th, 2012
1:01 pm

So Danny X,

A European invasion of illegals!! But will they pick fruit and mix cement?

This is very difficult. Shall I learn Greek, Spanish or French? I think I will keep Southern. It is so euphonious!

Junior Samples

April 11th, 2012
1:05 pm

Uga ‘99
Play much?
http://www.thinkgeek.com/books/humor/8e6c/images/2070/

The Justice Department goes after several companies for price fixing, therefore it’s a communist plot. Right…

Dusty

April 11th, 2012
1:06 pm

DannyX.

So you don’t like a diet of the truth? Tiberius has clear vision. Maybe you should visit Opto-Pals for new glasses. Second pair for FREEdom.

UGA 1999

April 11th, 2012
1:11 pm

Junior….YUUP.

Junior Samples

April 11th, 2012
1:12 pm

Dusty,

All you have to do at Taco Bell is order it “Fresco style”.
http://www.overcome-obesity-today.com/taco-bell-calorie.html

That’ll keep the calorie count down.

You’re Welcome.

UGA 1999

April 11th, 2012
1:13 pm

Junior….Here is an idea. IF you are fat, stop eating.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 11th, 2012
1:13 pm

And to the point of the article, why come here to a tepid economy with no work and pending inflation due to high gas prices when you can do as well down in Mexico with a lower cost of living?

Not surprised at all with Kyle’s column. People go where the work is, and until this current Disaster-in-Chief is deposed, there will be no significant work for anyone seeking employment to find.

Dusty

April 11th, 2012
1:14 pm

Junior Samples.

Of course there is something communistic going on here. My vet wants to “fix” the dog. My mechanic wants to “fix” my car. IRS wants to “fix” my bank acount. Now the government wants to “fix” business. I say “Down with communism!”..

Junior Samples

April 11th, 2012
1:16 pm

I’m not fat, I’m big boned

Ayn Rant

April 11th, 2012
1:18 pm

So, it seems the illegal immigration “problem” was created by politicians, not by people crossing the border to fill jobs that Americans won’t work.

The Texas/Mexico link is worth exploring. Unlike Arizona and the Deep South states, rabid Republican politicians in Texas have never been able to pass laws oppressing Hispanics. Texans ignore immigration status, put cheap labor to good use, and enjoy the social and economic uplift that results from a diverse, productive society.

If Texas could get rid of that wacky, useless state government sooner, rather than later, they’d lead the nation in peace and prosperity. The clock is ticking toward the day when political extremists are just another minority in Texas.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 11th, 2012
1:20 pm

Going back to another topic Kyle had over the weekend, The Omnitopical President, would you ever expect a First Lady to show up on a reality TV show? Of course not!

Except for this First Lady on The Biggest Loser.

Un-freakin-believable! :roll:

Is there NO publicity stunt these two won’t pull?

carlosgvv

April 11th, 2012
1:28 pm

I doubt they have stopped coming across the border and, even if they have, what do we do with the millions already here?

Dusty

April 11th, 2012
1:37 pm

Now comes AynRant 1:18

She’s all upset because Texas has a thriving economy! How dare they when they could have installed a two term liberal governor. Instead they chose Republican governor Rick Perry who led the state into a fine economy.

Just think! Texas could be debt ridden, high unemployment and homes foreclosed. But NO! They got a Republican and all the goodies!!

I tell you, a good economy is not something liberals enjoy. They have to work for private enterprise and that requires hard work and sound thinking. Now who wants THAT? Evidently Ayn Rant does.

saywhat?

April 11th, 2012
1:41 pm

Why no mention of the improved enforcement of existing immigrantion laws by the current administration i.e. more deportations ? Why no mention of the more inteligent application of existing immigration laws by the current administration i.e. deportations focused on the felons?