NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 17, 2007

The U.S. Border Patrol announced a stunning 38 percent drop in illegal immigrant apprehensions in the fiscal year from October through June.  It's tempting to credit stepped-up law enforcement in the United States for the reversal, but powerful forces inside Mexico are also enticing Mexicans to stay home, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

Political scientists have noticed key improvements in Mexico's long march to development, says IBD:

  • Mexico's population growth peaked at 3.3 percent in 1970 and is now at 2 percent.
  • In 1990, Mexico's government began encouraging illegal immigration -- right when those born in 1970 began looking for work.
  • But populations level off as incomes rise; Mexican incomes have risen steadily as Mexico opened up globally and with that sunlight, improved its governance, including rule of law.
  • With average Mexican income now at $7,000 -- the highest in Latin America -- average workers can earn nearly as much there as in the United States.

In a 2004 study, according to University of California, Davis, professor Philip Martin: "A combination of the sharp drop in Mexican fertility in the 1980s and 1990s, the potential for sustained economic and job growth in Mexico, and the winding down of the large-scale exodus from Mexican agriculture should reduce Mexico-U.S. migration after 2010.

Source: Editorial, "Border Flood Ebbing," Investor's Business Daily, August 17, 2007.


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