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Latino Daily News

Monday April 9, 2012

According to Study, Illegal Immigration Hits “Net Zero” In U.S.

Photo: According to Study, Illegal Immigration Hits "Net Zero" In U.S.

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Despite the violence, it seems the Mexican economy is improving and as a result, Mexican migration seems to have dropped.

During the 2008 recession, the number of undocumented Mexicans in the U.S. dropped from 12 million to 11 million. Since then, the undocumented have not migrated at a rate to bring that number back to where it was, causing many to say the Mexican migration rate is working at a net zero balance for the first time in 50 years, according to the founder of the Mexican Migration Project at Princeton University, Douglas Massey.

Though harsh immigration laws in states like Alabama and Arizona and tougher border enforcement have sent many undocumented Mexicans back to their country of origin, it is worth pointing out that Mexico’s education and infrastructure are improving, the availability of work is rising, and the fertility rate is down, allowing many to either remain in or return to Mexico.

With the drop in Mexican migrants in the U.S. one has to wonder what it will mean for both countries. Mexico receives billions in remittances from undocumented workers in the U.S. and the U.S. has long relied on the labor force of the undocumented immigrant.

Though fewer undocumentedworkers are coming into the U.S. that number may not include the number of people obtaining legal permanent resident (LPR) status (see Figure 1).

In 2011, a total of 1,062,040 persons became LPRs of the United States (see Table 1 and Figure 1). The majority of new LPRs (55 percent) already lived in the United States when they were granted lawful permanent residence. Nearly 65 percent of new LPRs were granted permanent resident status based on a family relationship with a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States. The leading countries of birth of new LPRs were Mexico (14 percent), China (8.2 percent), and India (6.5 percent).