WASHINGTON, D. C. – The net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped says a recent analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization based in Washington, D.C.
The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill. After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants – more than half of whom came without proper documents – the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped- and may have reversed, according to a new analysis of multiple government data sets from both countries by the Pew Hispanic Center.
The standstill appears to be the result of many factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and changing economic conditions in Mexico.
“We don’t know whether the wave will resume, but we do know that the current standstill is more than just a temporary pause,” said Paul Taylor, director of the Pew Hispanic Center. “Net migration from Mexico has been at zero and perhaps less since 2007.”
“Heightened enforcement of immigration laws has made it more difficult, expensive and dangerous for Mexicans to try to enter the U.S. illegally,” said Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center. “In addition, the slow U.S. economy has weakened the jobs magnet, and changing demographics in Mexico have reduced the pool of potential migrants.”
The report is based on the Center’s analysis of data from five different Mexican government sources and four U.S. government sources. The Mexican data comes from reports from the Mexican Decennial Censuses (Censos de Población y Vivienda) and the National Survey of Demographic Dynamics (Encuesta Nacional de la Dinámica Demográfica or ENADID) among others. The U.S. data comes from the 2010 Census, the American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Among the report’s key findings are:
• This sharp downward trend in net migration has led to the first significant decrease in at least two decades in the number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants living in the U.S.- to 6.1 million in 2011, down from a peak of nearly 7 million in 2007. Over the same period the number of authorized Mexican immigrants rose modestly, from 5.6 million in 2007 to 5.8 million in 2011.
• Apprehensions of Mexicans trying to cross the border illegally have dropped by more than 70% in recent years, from more than 1 million in 2005 to 286,000 in 2011 – a likely indication that fewer unauthorized immigrants are trying to cross. This decline has occurred at a time when funding in the U.S. for border enforcement including more agents and more fencing has risen sharply.
• Although most unauthorized Mexican immigrants sent home by U.S. authorities say they plan to try to return, a growing share say they will not try to come back to the U.S. According to a survey by Mexican authorities of repatriated immigrants, 20% of labor migrants in 2010 said they would not return compared with just 7% in 2005.
To access the full report visit http://www.pewhispanic.org/