NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Mexican Immigrants Head Back Home

November 15, 2001

The economic slowdown in the U.S. coupled with fears of terrorism is prompting many immigrants from Mexico to return to their homeland. The same factors are discouraging many would-be immigrants from making the trek to the U.S. in the first place.

  • Last week, Mexico's National Migration Institute reported that more than 350,000 Mexican citizens had returned from the U.S. in the two months since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- a 9 percent increase from the year-earlier period.
  • Migration Commissioner Felipe Preciado says he expects another two million Mexicans to come home by year end.
  • For the 12 months up to Sept. 30, apprehensions of illegal immigrants at the Southern border dropped 25 percent from the previous year -- to 1.2 million, their lowest level since 1995.
  • From Oct. 1 through Nov. 5, apprehensions dropped by 54 percent, to 43,000 -- an indication that thousands of casual laborers have likely decided to postpone their commute until a recovery begins in the U.S.

The returnees could spell bad news for the Mexican economy. So far this year, Mexico has lost nearly half a million jobs. Also, Mexicans working in the U.S. send some $8 billion to $10 billion home to their families. A decline in or drying up of those assets would add to the country's economic woes.

Source: Joel Millman and Eduardo Porter, "Mexicans Rush Across the Border, This Time Headed South," Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2001.

 

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