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What’s Behind Trend That Has Mexicans Leaving U.S.

Photo by Jean Guerrero

Pedestrians cross into Mexico through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, Nov. 3, 2015.

Aired 11/23/15 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS:

Ev Meade, director, University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute

David Scott FitzGerald, co-director, UC San Diego's Center for Comparative Immigration Studies

Transcript

A study from the Pew Research Center found that from 2009 to 2014 about 870,000 Mexican immigrants came to the U.S. During those same years, about a million Mexicans and their families left the U.S. for Mexico.

The result was a net loss of 140,000 people to Mexico, and it reversed a decades-long mass migration from the U.S.'s southern neighbor.

According to the study, 61 percent of people polled said they were leaving the U.S. so they could reunite with their families.

Ev Meade of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego said the reasons more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. is “complex and multilayered.”

It is a combination of what is happening in the U.S. and Mexico labor markets, as well as a decrease in unauthorized entries.

“A lot of what we’re seeing is the result of the lingering effects of the Great Recession,” said David Scott FitzGerald from the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego and author of "A Nation of Emigrants: How Mexico Manages Its Migration." He said that while the unemployment rate in the United States is improving overall, it is slower to improve for Latinos.

Concurrently, the labor market in Mexico is picking up. Meade said the gross domestic product in Mexico has gone up 25 percent since 2009. He said there is now more of a possibility of upward social mobility in Mexico. FitzGerald said greater opportunities for higher education exist in Mexico than previously. It’s also easier to get financial credit, he said.

The decrease in unauthorized entries is due to an increased fear of falling victim to violence or dying along the border when attempting to cross into the U.S., FitzGerald said.

“We’ve already seen the high water mark of Mexican migration to the U.S.,” FitzGerald said.

Evening Edition

Ev Meade, director of University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute, helps explain why Mexicans are leaving the US faster than they're arriving.

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