For the first time since the Great Depression, more Mexicans are leaving the US than are arriving, according to a report from the Pew Hispanic Center. Immigration from Mexico began to slow down in 2005 and probably reversed by 2010, according to the report. The US economy, tougher border enforcement, deportations, and the declining Mexican birth rate are cited as reasons for the change, which analysts believe could be permanent. Many of those returning to Mexico took their entire families, including around 100,000 US-born children.
The Mexican-born population in the US, which had been increasing since 1970 in the biggest wave of immigration America has ever seen, peaked at 12.6 million in 2007 and has dropped to 12 million since, as immigrants, most of them illegal, return home, according to the report. "I think the massive boom in Mexican immigration is over and I don’t think it will ever return to the numbers we saw in the 1990s and 2000s," the co-director of the Mexican Migration Project research group tells the Washington Post. Experts compare the drop in immigration from Mexico to the falls in immigration from Ireland and Germany seen in the past. (Read more illegal immigration stories.)