Most Mexicans in U.S. Have No Thought of Returning Home

Latin American Herald Tribune (Caracas), January 6, 2009

Some 54 percent of Mexicans who emigrated to the United States have no thought of returning to their native land, even though they foresee difficult times ahead because of the economic situation, according to a survey published Friday in the daily Reforma.

On the contrary, 41 percent say they are thinking of returning or know someone who is ready to do so.

The United States is home to some 12 million Mexicans, roughly half of them undocumented. More than 90 percent of Mexicans who have emigrated live in the nation to the north.

The great majority, 96 percent, of those who returned to Mexico during the Christmas holidays were on vacation, while only 2 percent came back to stay.

Of every 100 Mexicans who have emigrated to the United States, 77 believe that this year it will be harder to find work compared with 2008, and describe the crisis as grave.

Even so, 49 percent believe that things are going well or very well in the United States, while 46 percent say the situation is bad and 3 percent describe it as fair.

The economy is the United States’ main problem for 47 percent, followed by unemployment for 28 percent and racism for 4 percent.

And 61 percent trust that under the administration of the next president, Barack Obama, the long-awaited immigration reform will probably be enacted, although 33 percent dismiss the possibility.

Fifty-six percent of Mexican migrants in the United States describe their opinion of Obama as positive, compared with 13 percent who approve of outgoing-President George W. Bush.

With regard to Mexican President Felipe Calderon, 72 out of every 100 emigrants approve of his administration, with 9 percent expressing a negative perception and 19 percent with no opinion.

The poll was carried out Dec. 20-21 among 522 returning emigrants at various locations along the Mexico-U.S. border.

Remittances from emigrants working in the United States constitute Mexico’s second-biggest source of revenue after oil exports.

After growing at a 15 percent annual rate during the first six years of this decade, the flow of remittances slowed sharply in 2007 and 2008.

In 2007, Mexico received $23.97 billion in remittances, up just 1 percent from the 2006 level, while the $19.97 billion emigrants sent home during the first 10 months of this year represents a decline of 1.92 percent from the same period in 2007.

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