Population growth in America is driven by immigrants moving to this country. ( Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Mexican immigration to US in deep decline

The biggest immigration wave from one single country in U.S. history is over. The immigration from Mexico, which brought 12 million immigrants to the U.S. in the last forty years, has not only stopped, but it may even be reversing, according to a newreport from Pew Hispanic Center.

“This is a very important report…the overall picture shows major changes,” says Pew Hispanic’s Jeffrey Passel, a noted demographer, who studied both U.S. and Mexican census documents and other official data from both countries.

Between 2005 to 2010, about 1.4 million Mexicans immigrated to the US – but 1.4 million Mexicans, including their US born-children – went back, thus resulting in zero immigration growth from Mexico to the US.

In fact, the number of undocumented Mexican immigrants in the U.S. has gone down for the first time in twenty years, from 7 million in 2007 to 6.1 million in 2011.

“What explains this? Our data don’t tell us why people are moving,” added Passel, but “we see three broad areas,” he explained.

The Pew Hispanic demographers think that a weaker U.S. economy in the last few years, particularly in the areas of housing and construction, has contributed to the changing Mexican immigration patterns.

A second significant factor is due to a record number of deportations in recent years. In 2010, the US deported nearly 400,000 undocumented immigrants, and over 70 percent of them were Mexican.

Apart from the record number of deportations, increased border enforcement and the growing dangers in both Mexico and the US of illegal crossings have also played a role.

The report noted that while the US is spending more money on border enforcement for more agents and border fences, the number of apprehensions of Mexicans trying to cross the border illegally has plummeted by 70 percent.
The third main factor which might be influencing these immigration changes is what is happening in Mexico itself.  Mexicans are having fewer babies, the report notes, and there has been growth in the Mexican economy.
“This is not a one-year phenomenon, says Pew Hispanic’s Jeffrey Passel.  ”The largest immigration wave in US history from a single country is done.”


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