Mexican immigration to the United States has been on a steady decline since 2005, according to a study released by the Pew Hispanic Center. Figures the decline would start in 2005. That is the year George W. Bush was sworn into his second term as president. I’d be nervous to move into any country that would give him four more years to rule, too.
Based on national population surveys in the United States and Mexico, the number of immigrants moving to the U.S. has dropped at least 40 percent. However, while the figures of those entering the country have seen sharp declines the flow of migrants returning to Mexico has remained steady.
The survey estimated that 1 million Mexicans left for the United States in a 12-month period beginning in 2006. Three years later, that number decreased to 636,000. An estimated 433,000 Mexican migrants returned home between 2008 and 2009. Although the number of Mexican migrants entering the United States continues to outweigh those fleeing the country the gap between migrant inflows and outflows is closing.
Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center and author of the study, told CNN, “My guess is you have to go back at least 40 years or 50 years to see that.”
There are a number of factors that can be attributed to the declining figures. Enhanced border enforcement has certainly made it difficult for many Mexicans to enter the country; it has only heightened the risks of those who choose to enter the United States illegally. But, a larger factor is undoubtedly the state of the economy.
With fewer and fewer jobs available, not many see the point in paying a large amount of money to be smuggled into the States. And as one reader previously noted in a letter, some immigrants have come to appreciate the simpler things in life in lieu of the global economic crisis.
Still, with immigrants being the backbone of American society, what does it say that even our closet neighbors have either pushed off or completely scrapped their dreams of coming to the country to build a better live for themselves and their families?
Will less immigrants coming into the country turn out to be a good thing, or is it more important that people continue to believe in the American promise?
I’d love to hear from you. Drop your comments below and if you are an immigrant, I encourage you to share your story with me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.