Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Could immigration from Latin America stop?

It's unlikely to in the long term, but Council on Foreign Relations fellow Shannon K. O'Neil makes an argument for the short-term possibility in The Atlantic today. O'Neil notes how a combination of economic woes in the U.S. and tightened immigration enforcement have slowed northbound migration from Mexico to a trickle, as well as migration from countries farther south.

An economic reversal could eventually turn the tide, once again attracting migrants in search of jobs, but for now, interest in coming to the U.S. from Latin America is waning. O'Neil writes:

The flow of immigrants from Latin America to the United States, a constant and often accelerating trend of the last three decades, slowed in 2011. The most prominent was the change from Mexico. New arrivals fell off a cliff, with apprehensions at the border hitting their lowest levels in seventeen years. The drop is so great that Doug Massey, head of the Mexican Migration Project (a long term survey of Mexican emigration at Princeton University), claims that for the first time in sixty years, Mexican migration to the United States has hit a net zero.

Though Mexico is the single largest source of migrants to the United States, providing roughly a third of all newcomers, they weren't the only change. Anecdotal evidence at least suggests that many Brazilian migrants - which once numbered around one million - started heading home as well. Unemployment fell to all time lows, and numerous articles pointed out the labor scarcities both for high and low skilled workers.

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