This may come as a surprise to anyone calling for a border fence: There are actually more Mexicans exiting the US than arriving here, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. Between 2009 and 2014, an estimated 870,000 Mexican nationals came to the US from Mexico—but a million Mexicans went back the other way. (Pew admits it's "challenging" to measure migration flow between the US and Mexico, but explains quite a bit about how it gets the best possible estimates here.) Why? Pew cites a number of reasons:
- The US economic recovery has been slow, perhaps meaning fewer jobs for Mexican immigrants.
- US immigration laws have become more strictly enforced, perhaps causing fewer Mexicans to attempt to cross the border. (The number of Mexicans apprehended at the US border was just 230,000 last year, the lowest number since 1971.)
- There has also been an increase in Mexican deportations since 2005. Even so, most of the million Mexicans who crossed back over the border from the US did so of their own volition, not because they were deported.
- Interestingly, 48% of adults in Mexico say they think life is better in the US, but 33% say life is neither better nor worse in the US—a 10-percentage-point increase from those who believed life was equivalent in both places in 2007.
The data also show that the number of Mexican immigrants living in the US has declined from a peak of 12.8 million in 2007 (6.9 million of them unauthorized) to 11.7 million last year (5.6 million unauthorized). Read Pew's full report here
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