It's primarily the lousy economy, of course, and has little to do with any additional measures on the border to halt illegal immigration.
But there are other factors inside Mexico at play as well.
The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill. After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants-more than half of whom came illegally-the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped-and may have reversed, according to a new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center of multiple government data sets from both countries.
The standstill appears to be the result of many factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico's birth rates and changing economic conditions in Mexico.
Among the report's key findings:
- In the five-year period from 2005 to 2010, about 1.4 million Mexicans immigrated to the United States and about 1.4 million Mexican immigrants and their U.S.-born children moved from the United States to Mexico.
- In the five-year period a decade earlier (1995 to 2000), about 3 million Mexicans had immigrated to the U.S. and fewer than 700,000 Mexicans and their U.S. born-children had moved from the U.S. to Mexico.
- This sharp downward trend in net migration has led to the first significant decrease in at least two decades in the number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants living in the U.S.-to 6.1 million in 2011, down from a peak of nearly 7 million in 2007. Over the same period the number of authorized Mexican immigrants rose modestly, from 5.6 million in 2007 to 5.8 million in 2011.
It's also true that deportations have skyrocketed, although the number of illegals caught crossing the border has dropped substantially. Also, far fewer illegals who have been repatriated back to Mexico plan to try and return to the US.
This trend may reverse itself once the economy gets moving again. Until then, it might behoove the government to try and shore up the holes in our security along the border so that we will be ready if the onslaught of illegals from the south picks up again.