Mexican immigration falls for first time in four decades

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
By Paul Martin

Combination of weak economy, deportations and dangers of crossing US border reverse historic trend

Ed Pilkington
Monday 23 April 2012

The net flow of Mexicans into the US has dwindled to a trickle and may now be in reverse, giving the lie to right-wing warnings of an “invasion” of illegal immigrants and bringing to an end four decades of inward migration.

A survey from the Pew Hispanic Center finds that the largest wave of immigration in American history to have taken place from a single country has now been brought to a virtual standstill. In the five years from 2005 to 2010, about 1.4m Mexicans immigrated to the US – exactly the same number of Mexican immigrants and their US-born children who quit America and moved back or were deported to Mexico.

By contrast, in the previous five years to 2000 some 3m Mexicans came to the US and fewer than 700,000 left it.

The latest figures signify the end of an era. From 1970, the Mexican-born population of the US has risen steeply, reaching a peak of more than 12m in 2010.

Now it is falling, with the decline including undocumented Mexican immigrants living in the US who now number about 6.1m – 58% of the total unauthorised immigrant population of the country.

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