Illegal immigrants

This is interesting:

One million Mexicans said they returned from the US between 2005 and 2010, according to a new dem-ographic study of Mexican census data. That’s three times the number who said they’d returned in the previous five-year period.

At the macroeconomic level, Douglas Massey, founder of the Mexican Migration Project at Princeton University, has documented what he calls “net zero” migration. The population of undocumented immigrants in the US fell from 12 million to approximately 11 million during the height of the financial crisis (2008-09), he says. And since then, Mexicans without documents aren’t migrating at rates to replace the loss, creating a net zero balance for the first time in 50 years.

Partially this is due to the problems in the US but it’s also due to a demographic change in Mexico (women had a mean of 7 children in 1960, while it’s a bit more than 2 now), the added difficulty getting into the US, and the better conditions in Mexico:

Mexico has transformed from a relatively poor country to one that is largely “middle class” in attitude and consumption, reports Luis Rubio in “Mexico: A Middle Class Society,” which he co-wrote. The report links this, among other factors, to fertility rates, trade openness to cheap imports, and new access to credit. “That is why there are so many Wal-Marts everywhere,” Mr. Rubio says.

This isn’t a complete change though:

While per capita income has grown by 40 percent in two decades, Mexico saw a bump in poverty levels between 2008 and 2010, and Escobar attributes that, in part, to Mexican families having to absorb returning migrants.

In any case, this should create an opportunity. If the number of new illegal stays this low, then a legal fix should be possible. Somehow, I don’t think the Republican party will agree.

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