World Economy Cuts Mexican Migration by 50%

Fewer citizens are immigrating, but emigrants aren't returning
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2009 11:31 AM CST
Guillermo Ortiz, president of the Bank of Mexico, shows a graphic illustrating the decline in the Mexican gross domestic product from 2005 through expectations for 2009.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
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(Newser) – Who needs a border fence when you have a shaky economy? That seems to be the message of Mexico's latest migration numbers, which show net emigration down by more than half for the year that ended in August 2008, compared with the previous 12 months. And the cause isn't more Mexicans abroad returning home, a government statistician tells the AP.

"We have not detected, up to now, any increase in people returning to the country," he said. About 300,000 fewer people left Mexico last year than in 2007; most of the migrants are undocumented, and most head for the US. But with jobs north of the border harder to find, the move seems less promising. A US Immigration spokesman attributes the drop to increased enforcement.