A four-decade tidal wave of Mexican immigration to the United States has receded, causing a historic shift in migration patterns as more Mexicans appear to be leaving the United States for Mexico than the other way around, according to a report from the Pew Hispanic Center.
It looks to be the first reversal in the trend since the Depression, and experts say that a declining Mexican birthrate and other factors may make it permanent.
“I think the massive boom in Mexican immigration is over and I don’t think it will ever return to the numbers we saw in the 1990s and 2000s,” said Douglas Massey, a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University and co-director of the Mexican Migration Project, which has been gathering data on the subject for 30 years.
Nearly 1.4 million Mexicans moved from the United States to Mexico between 2005 and 2010, double the number who did so a decade earlier. The number of Mexicans who moved to the United States during that period fell to less than half of the 3 million who came between 1995 and 2000.
The trend could have major political consequences, underscoring the delicate dance by the Republican and Democratic parties as they struggle with immigration policies and court the increasingly important Latino vote.
This should finally put to rest the entire "secure the border" nonsense that we've heard from the GOP as an excuse to refuse to consider comprehensive immigration reform, but now of course the debate will shift to whether or not police should simply have to power to round up undocumented immigrants and ship them out. Certainly the xenophobes in the GOP will insist it's time for mass detainment, but it seems to me that the crackpots in the Republican party have won this battle. If you were Latino, would you want to live in Arizona or Alabama or Texas right now, given the climate of hatred? Can you blame them for saying "screw this!" and leaving?
Because that was the point all along.