A Third of Mexicans Would Migrate to US: Survey

Reuters, Sept. 23, 2009

One in three Mexicans would migrate to the United States if they had the chance, and many would go illegally at a time of rising drug violence in Mexico, a survey released on Wednesday showed.

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The survey by the Pew Research Center, a Washington-based public opinion research organization, found that 57 percent of Mexicans believe those who move from Mexico to the United States enjoy a better life.

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Asked if they would like to move to the United States, 33 percent of those taking part in the survey said “yes” and 18 percent said they would move even without the necessary visas.

“People see the U.S. as a land of opportunity . . . and they see a lot of problems in Mexico. They are worried about crime, about the economy, drugs and corruption,” said Richard Wike, who worked on the nationwide face-to-face survey of 1,000 Mexicans conducted between May 26 and June 2.

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Mexicans have a love-hate relationship with their northern neighbor, attracted by its higher wages and enamored of its shopping malls but still sore at the loss of nearly half their territory to the United States after a 19th century war.

Almost 40 percent of the survey’s respondents said they had relatives or close friends in the United States.

Around 11.9 million illegal immigrants, mostly Hispanic, live and work in the United States, including millions of Mexicans. Americans are divided about how to handle them.

Many border experts say illegal immigration to the United States will rise again from historic lows this year as the U.S. economy recovers and businesses ranging from farms to factories seek to hire cheap labor.

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