Mexican emigration has dropped 42 percent over the last two years, a government study released Thursday showed, confirming that America has become less appealing amid an economic downturn and stepped up raids against illegal migrants.
About eight of every 1,000 Mexicans emigrated between February and May of this year, according to the survey conducted by the National Statistics and Geography Institute. That’s a 42 percent drop from the same period in 2006.
In all of 2007, an estimated 814,000 Mexicans emigrated, compared to 1.2 million in 2006. The figure—which was reached through household surveys—includes all Mexicans who left the country, and did not break down legal and illegal migration.
There have long been indications that Mexican emigration has been falling dramatically. The U.S. Border Patrol has reported a 39 percent drop since 2005 in the capture of migrants trying to cross the frontier illegally.
And Mexicans are sending less money home, hurting Mexico’s second-largest source of foreign income behind oil exports. Remittances fell 12 percent to $1.9 billion in August, the biggest drop since record-keeping began 12 years ago, according to Mexico’s central bank.
The study found no significant change in the number of Mexicans coming home. But the drop in emigration was so large that by the end of 2007, more Mexicans were returning home than leaving the country, the study said.