Study finds more Mexicans leaving the US than coming

Security guard Guillermo Soria looks on while working in front of a Smart & Final store Wednesday. After living for nearly 25 years in the United States, Soria returned to Mexico and found work as a security guard. A new study finds more Mexicans are leaving the United States than coming to the country, marking a reversal to one of the most significant immigration trends in U.S. history. Tijuana, Mexico, Nov. 18, 2015 | Photo by Gregory Bull (AP), St. George News

SAN DIEGO (AP) — More Mexicans are leaving the United States than migrating into the country, marking a reversal of one of the most significant immigration trends in U.S. history.

A study published Thursday by the Pew Research Center said a desire to reunite families is the primary reason Mexicans go home. A sluggish U.S. recovery from the Great Recession also contributed. Meanwhile, tougher border enforcement has deterred some Mexicans from coming to the United States.

Feliciano Bermejo, 49, speaks during an interview Wednesday. Bermejo spent 21 years in the United States before returning voluntarily to Mexico. A new study finds more Mexicans are leaving the United States than coming to the country, marking a reversal to one of the most significant immigration trends in U.S. history. Tijuana, Mexico, November 18, 2015 | Photo by Gregory Bull (AP), St. George News
Feliciano Bermejo, 49, speaks during an interview Wednesday. Bermejo spent 21 years in the United States before returning voluntarily to Mexico. A new study finds more Mexicans are leaving the United States than coming to the country, marking a reversal to one of the most significant immigration trends in U.S. history. Tijuana, Mexico, Nov. 18, 2015 | Photo by Gregory Bull (AP), St. George News

Pew found that slightly more than 1 million Mexicans and their families, including American-born children, left the U.S. for Mexico from 2009 to 2014. During the same time, 870,000 Mexicans came to the U.S., resulting in a net flow to Mexico of 140,000.

A half-century of mass migration from Mexico is “at an end,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew’s director of Hispanic research.

The finding follows a Pew study in 2012 that found net migration between the two countries was near zero, so this represents a turning point in one of the largest mass migrations in U.S. history. More than 16 million Mexicans moved to the United States from 1965 to 2015, more than from any other country.

“This is something that we’ve seen coming,” Lopez said. “It’s been almost 10 years that migration from Mexico has really slowed down.”

The findings counter the narrative of an out-of-control border that has figured prominently in U.S. presidential campaigns, with Republican Donald Trump calling for Mexico pay for a fence to run the entire length of the 1,954-mile frontier. Pew said there were 11.7 million Mexicans living in the U.S. last year, down from a peak of 12.8 million in 2007. That includes 5.6 million living in the U.S. illegally, down from 6.9 million in 2007.

In another first, the Border Patrol arrested more non-Mexicans than Mexicans in the 2014 fiscal year, as more Central Americans came to the U.S., mostly through South Texas, and many of them turned themselves in to authorities.

The authors analyzed U.S. and Mexican census data and a 2014 survey by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography. The Mexican questionnaire asked about residential history, and found that 61 percent of those who reported living in the U.S. in 2009 but were back in Mexico last year had returned to join or start a family. An additional 14 percent had been deported, and 6 percent said they returned for jobs in Mexico.

Still, it’s this lack of jobs in the U.S. — not family ties — that is mostly motivating Mexicans to leave, said Dowell Myers, a public policy professor at the University of Southern California. Construction is a huge draw for young immigrants, but has yet to approach the levels of last decade’s housing boom, he said.

“It’s not like all of a sudden they decided they missed their mothers,” Myers said. “The fact is, our recovery from the Great Recession has been miserable. It’s been miserable for everyone.”

Also, Mexico’s population is aging, meaning there’s less competition for young people looking for work there. That’s a big change from the 1990s, when many people entering the workforce felt they had no choice but to migrate north of the border, Myers said.

While the U.S. economic recovery is sluggish, Mexico has been free in recent years from the economic tailspins that drove earlier generations north in the 1980s and 1990s. The peso is relatively stable, inflation is manageable, and while many parts of Mexico suffer grinding poverty and violence, others — especially in the more industrial northern half — have become thriving manufacturing centers under the North American Free Trade Agreement, producing cars, airplanes and other heavy equipment.

People line up to cross into the United States from Mexicali, Mexico, before dawn in Calexico, Calif. More Mexicans are leaving the United States than coming to the country, marking a reversal to one of the most significant immigration trends in U.S. history, according to a study published Thursday., Mexicali, Mexico, Feb. 1, 2012 | File Photo by Gregory Bull (AP), St. George News
People line up to cross into the United States from Mexicali, Mexico, before dawn in Calexico, Calif. More Mexicans are leaving the United States than coming to the country, marking a reversal to one of the most significant immigration trends in U.S. history, according to a study published Thursday., Mexicali, Mexico, Feb. 1, 2012 | File Photo by Gregory Bull (AP), St. George News

“The main reason for my return is family,” José Arellano Correa, a 41-year-old Mexico City taxi driver who came back from the U.S. in 2005. “I could help them while I was there, but family comes before money.”

Mexicans who remain in the U.S. are more settled than before, Pew said: Their median age was 39 years in 2013, compared to 29 in 1990. More than three in four had been in the U.S. for more than a decade, compared to only half in 1990.

Another telling statistic: 35 percent of adults in Mexico say they have friends or relatives they regularly communicate with or visit in the U.S., a Pew survey this year found. That’s down 7 percentage points from 2007.

Guadalupe Romo, 49, has lived in Fresno, California, for 26 years and has no plans to leave.

“We have our life here,” she said at Fresno’s Mexican consulate. “There’s no point in going back to Mexico.”

___________________

Story by ELLIOT SPAGAT, Associated Press

Associated Press writers Scott Smith in Fresno, California, and Alberto Arce in Mexico City contributed to this report.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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16 Comments

  • Rainbow Dash November 19, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Good. If they’re here illegally, they need to be gone.

    • Brian November 19, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      How intolerant and racist of you… (as almost all of your friends would say of your viewpoint)

      • Rainbow Dash November 19, 2015 at 3:48 pm

        On the contary actually, Most of my friends would agree with me. For me, it’s not a question of race, I have nothing against mexicans or italians or anyone else here legally. As far as Im concerned you are entitled to all the rights and privileges that come with being a citizen or resident IF YOU ARE HERE LEGALLY. If not, you are not. Simple as that. I also think they should remove the “anchor baby” exception. Babies born to non-citizens should not be automatically given citizenship. All babies and children under 18 born to non-citizens should be allotted the citizenship status of their parents. Simply, if the parents are citizens or become legal citizens before they turn 18, they are citizens. If not, they are not. When they turn 18, if their parents are not already citizens, they can become citizens if they want like any other adult immigrant.

        • Brian November 20, 2015 at 10:23 am

          I agree the 14th amendment (which gives us “anchor babies”) should be repealed (it was the right thing to do when families were being brought here against their will for slavery, but that hasn’t been the case for well over a century). However, the vast majority of liberals will call you racist and intolerant for wanting our borders and immigration laws enforced.

      • .... November 20, 2015 at 4:26 pm

        Shut up Brian…. if they’re here illegally they should all be gone , Rainbow Dash is a friend of mine. With friends like Brian who needs enemies. Brian feels that illegals have the right to come here and violate the law but wants Americans arrested for Jay Walking.! The Enemy here America is Brian .!

  • 42214 November 19, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    What a feel good story. Best news I’ve heard in years if it’s true.

  • holger November 19, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    This does not appear to jive with what my own eyes are telling me, at least here locally. Over the past five years, in our Utah school district (I will leave it unnamed to protect anonymity), we’ve been inundated with Spanish-speaking children. They now pack the after-school program and make up the majority of free breakfast/lunch crowd. Perhaps nationally the trend is flat, but it does not appear that way in our little piece of the state.

  • BIG GUY November 19, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    “Still, it’s this lack of jobs in the U.S. — not family ties — that is mostly motivating Mexicans to leave.” By stifling job creation in this country over the last six years, Obama has discouraged many Mexican immigrants. Brilliant! Take that, Republicans!
    .
    The fact that many U.S. citizens can’t find work either is just collateral damage. Don’t let today’s low unemployment rate fool you: millions have dropped out of the job market and onto government assistance, e.g. Social Security disability. This makes unemployment seem artificially low while the percentage of employed adults is lowest in over 30 years. Government assistance: the progressive’s solution to unemployment.

  • ladybugavenger November 19, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Who believes this? This must be an Obama lie

  • Brian November 19, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Liberals love to say there is no way to deport the 11 – 20 million illegal immigrants (ie. “Undocumented Democrats”) living in the US, but for many that isn’t true. Many “self-deported” after the economy crashed in 2007 / 2008. Fixing illegal immigration in this country is easy: 1. Set a deadline 6 months in the future. After that date, anyone caught in the country illegally will be banished from citizenship for the remainder of their lives. 2. Fine the crap out of companies that hire illegal aliens, every single time, no exceptions (they can protect themselves by using E-Verify) 3. Remove 100% of economic benefits to illegal immigrants, regardless of whether they’ve paid taxes in the past (no welfare, no tax credits, no tax refunds, no free healthcare, no free or discounted housing, no free or discounted education). 4. Build a real double-fence on both borders that can’t be climbed over, dug under, or cut through (use eminent domain as necessary, on the borders and for national security this is a very valid use of eminent domain). 5. Revamp immigration laws to have a predictable way to become a citizen, based on merit (English fluency, education, crime-free past, desire to assimilate, etc). 6. Vote out any politician that opposes this (and herein lies the problem, rendering steps 1 – 5 pointless).

    • Chris November 19, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      “a real double-fence on both borders that can’t be climbed over, dug under, or cut through” LOL, such a fence has never existed anywhere and is completely impossible to construct. The idea that any border can be made impenetrable is a myth.

    • .... November 20, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      They’re should get rid of Brian first. The best way to get rid of the stink . is get rid of the garbage.

  • fun bag November 19, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    got to agree, the liberal agenda of ‘amnesty for all’ is a disgrace and is toxic to the country. Unfortunately, no ‘conservative’ side exists that is willing to confront or deal with the problem since the rulers of this country enjoy having a glut of cheap, desperate labor thats willing to work for a pittance. Trump is all talk when it comes to this, nothing would happen with him either. The Rs and Ds have failed completely at keeping illegals out. As far as this story, the illegals breed and multiply at rates far exceeding the amounts leaving, so don’t expect to see any reduction of these criminals. These illegal babies are not U.S. citizens and need to be expelled with the parents. Our country looks more and more like mexico each day, what a shame…

    • .... November 20, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      It wouldn’t surprise me to find out the only people Brian cared about on 9/11 was the hijackers

  • .... November 20, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    To solve this problem they need throw out all the illegals and people like Brian

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