Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In Shifting Migration Trend, More Mexicans Leaving the US for Mexico

According to a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center, not only are there fewer Mexicans migrating to the US, but the number of Mexicans who are voluntarily or forcibly returning to Mexico has risen sharply. This basically means that migration flow from Mexico -- which saw about 3.5 million Mexicans immigrate to the US between 2000 and 2005  -- has “come to a standstill,” and may even have reversed, with just 1.4 million Mexicans migrating to the US between 2005 and 2010.

The report’s findings contradict some of the trends observed by the Pew Center in previous reports, which did not find that a significant number of Mexicans were returning to Mexico. “We really haven’t seen anything like this in the last 30 or 40 years,” Pew Center senior demographer Jeffrey Pascal told the New York Times.

Of the 1.4 million people who migrated from the U.S. to Mexico since 2005, most did so voluntarily, but a significant number were deported, the report finds. The report estimates that anywhere between 5 percent to 35 percent of those 1.4 million were sent back to Mexico by US authorities. Because neither the US nor Mexico keeps reliable data on who is sent back, or what happens to deportees once they return in Mexico, Pew Hispanic was unable to make a more accurate estimate, the report states.

One question is whether the increased flow rate of Mexicans leaving the US is a temporary shift in migration patterns, in reaction to a bad US economy, increased border enforcement, and deportations, or whether this represents a permanent reversal of Mexican migration trends. A sociology professor who studies Mexico demographic trends at UC San Diego told the LA Times that the new report may indicate that immigration from Mexico will likely never surge again, the way it did during the 1990s, even if the US economy bounces back.

The Pew Center hints at the reasons for why Mexican immigration patterns may be reversing so dramatically. The decline of the US economy and the rise in deportations are probably the factors which best explain why the return rate continues to rise. In another key finding, more Mexicans who were deported from the US say they will not try to return: in 2005, just 7 percent of deportees surveyed said they would not try to re-enter the US; in 2010, that number had risen to 20 percent, the Pew Center reports.


News Briefs
  • In an interview with the AP, Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Peña Nieto failed to name any major distinctions between his proposed security strategy and President Felipe Calderon’s. He set no goals for reducing violence in Mexico, and said that his security approach would focus on creating a single state police force and fighting money laundering, similarly to Calderon. He opposes drug legalization, adding "So far no one has convinced me that this is the solution.”
  • A policy review from the Inter-American Foundation argues that the quality and intensity of the ties between Latin America and the US has diminished, resulting in plenty of missed opportunities for Washington. Hemispheric relations have shifted in the past seven years, thanks to Brazil’s rising economic power, Mexico’s focus on its internal problems, and the election of more “pragmatic” rather than ideological governments in many countries, the report states. The US needs to address longstanding issues on the agenda like its policies towards immigration, drug control, and Cuba, in order to look ahead and set a new agenda more focused on energy and economic cooperation, the Dialogue argues.
  • As an accompaniment to its investigation into Wal-Mart de Mexico’s payment of bribes, the New York Times with a feature on the tolerance towards bribery in Mexico. The country has extensive laws against bribery, but they are rarely enforced, and while there have been a few cases of American prosecutors pushing through with cases against US companies that have paid bribes abroad, “Mexican bribery investigations are few and far between.”
  • Venezuela President Hugo Chavez spoke publicly for the first time in nine days since arriving in Cuba for a new round of treatment for cancer. In a 30-minute phone call to a Venezuelan TV show, Chavez said he planned to return to Venezuela by Thursday. The New York Times notes that while Chavez has been forced to become “uncharacteristically quiet” during his recovery period, his Twitter account has become an even more important means of communication. During the TV interview, Chavez also commented for the first time on the allegations of former judge Eladio Aponte, now a reported informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Chavez called Aponte “a delinquent,” reports the LA Times World Blog, a view similar to that expressed by Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami, who said Aponte fled Venezuela in order to avoid trial for corruption and ties to drug trafficking. 
  • A television personality was gunned down in Tegucigalpa, the 18th journalist and/or media professional to be killed in Honduras since President Porfirio Lopez assumed office in 2010, reports Voz de America
  • The US will sell 10 helicopters, including five Black Hawks, to Colombia, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced. The strengthening of the Colombian air force -- including the expansion of its helicopter fleet, which now numbers 120 -- has played a key role in the Colombian government’s fight against rebel group the FARC. Tuesday, Panetta is set to meet with the Brazilian Secretary of Defense in Brasilia, in order to discuss the facilitation of arms sales between the US and Brazil, reports Mercopress.
  • The LA Times with a brief note on internal dissent within Mexico’s PRI party, with many potential candidates demanding a cleaner election process for selecting candidates for local office. The post notes that thanks to a long history of rival factions within the PRI, such internal dissent is not a new phenomenon. 
  • The New York Times on Mexico’s changing relationship with state oil company Pemex, in which the government is becoming much more aggressive about regulating the company’s practices. 
  • Proceso reports that a National Action Party (PAN) candidate was attacked in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, by a group of armed gunmen, one of the most striking examples so far of criminal groups targeting political candidates during the 2012 election season. 
  • IPS News on a historic lawsuit in Chile, in which families with relatives who were “disappeared” during the 1973-1990 dictatorship are suing former members of Chile’s secret police.