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Undocumented Mexican immigrants walk through the Sonoran Desert after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
Millions of immigrants have streamed across the border from Mexico over the past 30 years, driven by dreams of a better life in El Norte; in fact, the trip has been looked at as a rite of passage for generations of Mexican youth. But a new research study from the Pew Hispanic Center finds that the trend is reversing. Families south of the border report seeing a wave of both returning relatives and younger members opting to stay put. In one technological school in Jalisco, students who are finding themselves better educated than their parents say they plan to stay and live the dream at home. For the first time in 60 years, net traffic at the border has gone to zero. What could be contributing to the trend? A lower birth rate, expanding economic and educational opportunities in Mexico and the increasing danger of border crossings are a few of the factors named by the study. In addition, economic woes in the U.S. have made it a less appealing goal for job seekers. What do these numbers mean to our economy? How will this affect the national argument over immigration? What shifts have you noticed in your community? If you’re a Mexican immigrant, have you or your friends considered returning to pursue opportunities there?
Jeffrey Passel, Senior Demographer, Pew Hispanic Center
Steven Camarota, Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies
David Leopold, Immediate past President, American Immigration Lawyers; currently practices immigration law in Cleveland, Ohio