A True Voluntary Return

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

According to a Pew report from the Pew Research Center, over one million Mexicans left the United States and returned to Mexico. In fact, the report makes it clear that more Mexicans have been leaving the United States between 2009 to 2014 than had come to America. This is in many ways keeping with reports that the number of Mexican immigrants—whether they are legal or undocumented—has declined during the same time period. >From 2009 to 2014, over one million Mexicans had left the United States. In contrast, 865,000 had come to the United States. This shift marks a complete turn-around from the 1990’s when a record number of Mexicans had left Mexico for the United States.

What has caused this change for reverse migration? First, the American labor market has not substantially improved since the Great Recession began in 2008. With fewer jobs available, and a more hostile social environment for Mexicans in the United States, many Mexicans feel they are better off going back to Mexico. Back in Mexico, more Mexicans have been able to gain employment than was true a mere ten years before. The number of manufacturing jobs in Mexico has greatly improved the economic situation in that country, and so even with the lower minimum wage pay in Mexico, many Mexicans are opting to return to Mexico.

One last curious thing is that as Mexican immigration to the United States has been declining, that of immigration from Asia has been rising. It means that the very dynamic of immigration in the United States is changing yet again. So even if somehow Donald Trump does become president, and even if he builds a border wall between the United States and Mexico, it will not stop immigration from Asia. The dynamics of immigration does not stay constant, and where immigrants to the United States come from all depends of the conditions of whatever country and continent they come from.

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