Immigration from Mexico to US is “Almost Nothing”

The Associated Press reported that Mexico’s net outflow of migrants has fallen to “almost nothing,” as fewer migrants entered Mexico, but the number leaving dropped even faster, the government’s statistical unit said Monday. A report by the National Statistics Institute says Mexico lost about 0.09 percent of its population to migration as reflected in quarterly surveys carried out between March 2010 and March 2011. That was 83 percent lower than the outflow of 0.53 percent of the population in 2006 and early 2007, near the end of Mexico’s migration boom. “In the first quarter of 2011, there was practically no net loss of population due to international migration,” the institute said. “As a result, in relative terms the net migration balance was almost nothing.” About 0.38 percent of the country’s 112.7 million people migrated abroad in the most recent period studied, while about 0.29 percent immigrated to Mexico. That was down from the 2006-2007 period, when almost 1 percent of the population left in a year, and about 0.46 of the population were newly arrived migrants from elsewhere. The comparisons are based on preliminary figures from the quarterly National Employment and Occupation survey. Those immigrating to Mexico include Central Americans settling in border areas and U.S. retirees who live in Mexico. Should the tendency of falling emigration continue, if more U.S. baby boomers decide to retire to Mexico or more Mexicans working in the United States return to their home country, Mexico could revert it’s century-old status as a net exporter of migrants. But Raul Delgado, a professor at the Zacatecas Autonomous University, said the new numbers were neither particularly encouraging, nor guaranteed to be permanent… “I do not think we will ever be net gainers in terms of migration,” Delgado said. Delgado said the decrease in migrants leaving Mexico was due more to the costs and dangers of migrating and tough economic conditions in the United States, rather than any increase in opportunities in Mexico. And rather than making Mexico a more attractive place for foreigners to come, current trends could make the country more dangerous, and less of a draw for migrants. “This (migration) is an escape valve that is being closed, and that makes it easier for people to fall into the hands of drug traffickers … who paradoxically are some of the only ones creating employment opportunities,” Delgado said. The most recent national census in 2010 showed that migration had fallen to about one-third of the peak of about 450,000 Mexicans leaving each year between 2000 and 2005. Other demographic trends have influenced migration levels. Mexico has a steadily slowing rate of population increase, which cooled to about 1.4 percent in 2010, from a peak of about 3.4 percent per year in the 1960s.

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