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More Mexican immigrants leaving U.S than entering

Family reunification, economics driving shift

More Mexican immigrants are leaving the United States than coming into the country, according to a report published Thursday by the Pew Research Center. 

This shift marks the end of one of the largest waves of immigration in U.S. history. Since 1965, more than 16.2 million Mexicans have migrated to the United States, Pew said. 

Using data from both countries, Pew determined that from 2009 to 2014, an estimated 870,000 Mexican nationals left that country for the United States. Meanwhile, one million Mexicans and their families returned to Mexico. 

Those leaving included 100,000 U.S.-born children under the age of 5. 

Measuring migration flows between the U.S. and Mexico is challenging because there "no official counts" of Mexican immigrants entering and leaving the United States each year, said Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, a Pew researcher who wrote the report. 

The report uses the best available government data from both countries to estimate the migration of people between the two nations. For Mexican data, Pew used two national census counts and a national household survey from 2014 by the Mexican National Survey of Demographic Dynamics or ENADID, which asks comparable questions about household members migration to and from Mexico. 

In the United States, the report used data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, and adjusted the data for under-counts of the number of Mexican immigrants living in the United States, Pew said. 

The report attributed the shift in migration to several reasons, including the slow recovery of the U.S. economy after the recession, which may have made the U.S. less attractive to potential Mexican immigrants while pushing out others who could not find work north of the border as the job market deteriorated, Pew said. 

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The report also considered stricter enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, particularly along along the U.S.-Mexico border. While the number of Border Patrol agents has remained relatively steady, rising only slightly from 20,119 in 2009 to 20,863 in 2014, the Obama administration increased deportations 

A majority of the one million Mexicans who left the U.S. for Mexico between 2009 and 2014 told the Mexican government's ENADID survey that they "left of their own accord," and more than 60 percent said they returned to Mexico to reunite with family members. 

Around 25 percent said that they returned to Mexico because they could not find a job in the United States and around 6 percent said that they returned to Mexico for a job in the country. 

Only about 14 percent of returning immigrants told surveyors that the reason for their return was deportation from the U.S. 

Last year, the number of Mexicans caught crossing the border illegally by U.S. Customs and Border Protection dropped to 230,000, the lowest number since 1971. 

While the number of apprehensions has declined rapidly in the last since a spike of 1.6 million in 2000, last year the number of Mexicans caught by border officials was outpaced by people from countries other than Mexico. 

In 2014, CBP apprehended 229,178 people from Mexico and 257,473 from other countries. This was driven by the influx of Central American unaccompanied minors and family units, who overwhelmed border stations in the Texas' Rio Grande Valley. 

While Mexicans have been the largest immigrant group in the U.S., Pew notes that over the past decade, immigration from China and India to the United States has increased steadily, outpacing the number of Mexican immigrants. 

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1 comment on this story

Nov 19, 2015, 9:03 pm
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I hope this is all true, and that this trend continues

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