Immigration has become one of the most controversial arguments of the 2016 presidential race. Both Republican and Democratic candidates have been debating about improving the nation’s immigration system – particularly when it comes to Mexicans who cross the border into the country in large numbers every year.
Few presidential hopefuls, most notably Donald Trump, have gone to great lengths to offend the Hispanic population in the U.S., accusing them of stealing jobs and calling them rapists – twice. He even suggested that America should build a huge wall to keep out Mexican immigrants.
However, it seems like Trump was being paranoid for no reason at all. As a new report suggests, for the first time in more than four decades, more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. and going back to their homeland than arriving in the country.
From 2009 to 2014, an estimated 870,000 Mexicans came to the United States while 1 million said adios and returned home, according to the study from the Pew Research Center.
Apparently, the top reason for this historic migration reversal is family reunification. Other reasons include lack of jobs in the U.S. – courtesy of the Great Recession, an improving economy in Mexico and tighter border security.
“U.S. border apprehensions of Mexicans have fallen sharply, to just 230,000 in fiscal year 2014 -- a level not seen since 1971,” the report said. “Today, a third (33%) of adults in Mexico say those who move to the U.S. lead a life that is equivalent to that in Mexico.”
Pew's findings, which accounted for both documented and undocumented immigrants, also revealed that number of Mexican migrants living in the U.S. declined from 12.8 million in 2007 to 11.7 million in 2014, whereas the number of Mexicans residing illegally in the U.S. dropped from 6.9 million in 2007 to 5.6 million in 2014.
Although the Obama administration has deported more Mexicans than any other president, the Pew study found that only 14% of those who returned to Mexico between 2009 and 2014 were deported. The rest left on their own accord.
“This is something that we've seen coming,” explained Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research at the Pew center. “It's been almost 10 years that migration from Mexico has really slowed down.”
He further said that the number of Mexicans might increase again in the coming years if the U.S. economy continues to improve. However, keeping in mind the steady growth of Mexico's economy and tighter controls along the southwest border, there is ample chance that the country will not see another massive wave of immigrants anytime soon.
Mexicans have always been considered the largest proportion of immigrants in the U.S., although it now seems that the Asians are becoming the most dominant share of the immigrant population.
The report also found that some of the characteristics of Mexican-born immigrants in the United States have changed significantly. They have become more settled and better educated than they were 10 years ago.