Much attention is being given to a report about census data out of Mexico revealing a decline in Mexican migration to the United States. The data appears back up what many U.S. experts – and the Observer -- have been saying for months that the bad economy is slowing the flow of illegal immigration.
The New York Times reports that Mexican data show that immigration from Mexico to other countries declined by 25 percent in the year that ended in August 2008 from the preceding year. Some 226,000 fewer people immigrated from Mexico. Most come to the United States.
As with their American counterparts, Mexican researchers say the decline is largely a result of the lack of jobs in the ailing American economy.
"If jobs are available, people come," Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research group in Washington, told the paper. “If jobs are not available, people don't come."
Other researchers argue the drop in crossings from Mexico proves that tough law enforcement at the border and in American workplaces can help reduce illegal immigration.
"The latest evidence suggests that you can reverse the flow," says Steven A. Camarota, a demographer at the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for stronger enforcement of immigration laws. "It is not set in stone, so with some mix of enforcement and the economy, fewer will come and more will go home."
Photo: NEWS & OBSERVER staff/Ted Richardson.