Mexican Migration To US Could Be Back On Rise, Says Financial Group

US-Mexico border fence in San Diego.
A man in Mexico looks up at the border fence separating the U.S. and Mexico where it extends into the Pacific Ocean, after a storm that hit San Diego caused damage to the fence, in San Diego January 3, 2006.

Since the outbreak of the Great Recession in 2009, the flow of Mexican migrants to the United States has slowed considerably, falling to nearly a net gain of zero in 2012. But Mexico’s biggest financial institution thinks it’s been back on the rise in 2014. BBVA Bancomer writes in a new report that as sectors traditionally employing Mexican workers expanded, the net flow of Mexicans into the United States has increased too, especially in Texas, the state with the second-largest Mexican population in the country.

In the first quarter of the year, according to the group’s analysis, the number of Mexican-born workers in the US grew 1.3 percent. Carlos Serrano, the group’s director of economic studies, told La Jornada, “We see signs that the net flow of migrants, taking into account those Mexicans who leave for the United States and those who return from there, is reverting after it hit zero.” The presumed increase doesn’t apply across the board, however. The report says that while California saw no net change in the number of Mexican immigrants this year, their population increased 1.7 percent in Texas.  

Two other states with large Mexican populations -- Illinois and Arizona -- saw decreases of 9.7 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. “Employment is growing in sectors which employ Mexicans,” Serrano said, “especially in certain areas like Texas, especially in construction work. That’s making migration flows to the United States reactivate.” He added that the study could indicate that the past decades’ buildup in border security, or recent economic growth in Mexico, has not been as consequential to migration flows as has been speculated. “What we find is that the factor which explains migration is the job opportunities existing in the United States and the salary differential,” he said.

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