Tuesday, April 24, 2012

So, What If Immigration Is Flowing the Other Way?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM

A question I don't have the answer to: if more immigrants, both legal and illegal, are actually returning to Mexico than are coming into the United States, why exactly are we continually in a state of panic over the border?

A new study says that for the first time since the Great Depression, there may be fewer Mexican immigrants coming into the United States than there are moving from the United States back to Mexico. According to the Pew Research Center, the net migration between the U.S. and Mexico over the last five years was essentially zero, and the downward trend suggests that flow of both legal and illegal immigrants may have actually reversed back toward Mexico.

There are many possible reasons to explain the decline, but the most obvious one would seem to be the struggling U.S. economy, which has cost millions of available jobs, particularly in construction and in the South, where recent immigrants generally thrive. There have also been big increases in enforcement, deportations, and border security, although the report also says that arrests of illegal immigrants trying to cross the border has actually plummeted by nearly 75%. Whether that's because fewer people want to come here or they just don't think it's worth the risk is hard to pin down, but the number of folks willing to take the chance is definitely declining.

Given the continued hysteria over illegal immigrants and how demographic shifts might change the country in the future, many Americans might be shocked to learn that the shift is actually heading in the other direction.

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