Home Again in Mexico: Illegal Immigration Hits Net Zero

Sara Miller Llana, Christian Science Monitor, April 8, 2012


One million Mexicans said they returned from the US between 2005 and 2010, according to a new demographic study of Mexican census data. That’s three times the number who said they’d returned in the previous five-year period.

And they aren’t just home for a visit: One prominent sociologist in the US has counted “net zero” migration for the first time since the 1960s.

Experts say the implications for both nations are enormous—from the draining of a labor pool in the US to the need for a radical shift in policies in Mexico, which has long depended on the billions of dollars in migrant remittances as a social welfare cornerstone.

“The massive return of migrants will have implications at the micro and macro economic levels and will have consequences for the social fabric . . . especially for the structure of the Mexican family,” says Rodolfo Casillas, a migration expert at the Latin American School of Social Sciences in Mexico City.

The trend began with a weaker economy in the US. But even if a stronger one were to pull many Mexicans back to the US, the new pattern could persist. Migrants—and the experts who study them—say they are deterred by state laws in the US that have fueled anti-immigrant sentiment, tougher US-border enforcement, and border violence.

So, many Mexicans simply stay put. And now, the human calculus of possibility means they can stay put—or at least are more able to than their parents, who turned the US-Mexican border corridor into the busiest in the world. Today in Mexico there is greater access to education, growing per capita income, and lower fertility rates—all making a life here more viable. In turn, a life in the shadows of the US, separated from family often for years, is less palatable.

“The calculation is finally making people come back and decide to stay in Mexico,” says Agustin Escobar, a demographer at the Center for Research in Social Anthropology in Guadalajara, Mexico.


At the macroeconomic level, Douglas Massey, founder of the Mexican Migration Project at Princeton University, has documented what he calls “net zero” migration. The population of undocumented immigrants in the US fell from 12 million to approximately 11 million during the height of the financial crisis (2008-09), he says. And since then, Mexicans without documents aren’t migrating at rates to replace the loss, creating a net zero balance for the first time in 50 years.

Mexican census and household surveys analyzed by Mr. Escobar, who is with the Binational Study on Mexican Migration, suggest migrants leaving Mexico fell from more than a million in 2005 to 368,000 in 2010.


Mexico has transformed from a relatively poor country to one that is largely “middle class” in attitude and consumption, reports Luis Rubio in “Mexico: A Middle Class Society,” which he co-wrote. The report links this, among other factors, to fertility rates, trade openness to cheap imports, and new access to credit. “That is why there are so many Wal-Marts everywhere,” Mr. Rubio says.

But another factor that has helped reduce poverty is remittances. Migrants abroad sent $21.27 billion back home in 2010, according to Mexico’s central bank. And while Mexico has long developed programs to take advantage of such resources, with its 3-for-1 program, for example, which matches funds sent back to communities for local development, it is not prepared for a sustained change in migration patterns, says Rodolfo Zamora Garcia, an economist in Zacatecas State who studies migration and remittances.

“There is no public policy in Mexico to address the massive return of migrants or the reinsertion of them back into their communities,” says Mr. Zamora.


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  • WmarkW

    Remittances is a very under-reported cost about illegal immigrants.   Low-wage Americans spend their money within the US economy, increasing what’s called the velocity of money.   Open a factory (well, it used to happen) employing 100 people, and the community can support an extra thousand population, as they spend at the store, whose employees send their kids to school, whose teachers pay rent to the landlord, etc.

    Send the wages out of the country, and they’re gone.

    • crystal evans

      The only ones that make money off remittances are Western Union, American Express and the banks that participate in money transfer services to foreign countries.

  • crystal evans

    I read an article a few weeks ago stating that Mexico has a growing middle class population. This a far cry from the days when there were just two class the very rich and very poor. I believe that Mexico provides free college education for their citizens. There was a university that was providing free online courses for Mexican citizens in the US.

    • The_Bobster

      Yet the La Raza racists demand that Americans provide free college educations for their spawn.

  • Oil Can Harry

    So according to this article enforcing our immigration laws DOES make a difference.

    Of course, rather than give Sheriff Joe Arpaio a medal for his heroic work the Obama regime is instead preparing his show trial.

    • crystal evans

      They do not want to admit that Arpaio was right after all.

  • My achin’ White rear we’ve had net zero illegal immigration from Mexico. How long have we been at that fairy tale of a number, 12 million illegal immigrants? How many anchor babies have been dropped since that 12 million fairy tale of a number was being floated during the CLINTON Administration?

    Golly, Rodolfo Casillas. I may be White but that doesn’t mean I’m a retard. Net zero Mexican immigration is a complete fantasy.

  • ageofknowledge

    Pure Baloney. Look at the U.S. population clock: http://www.census.gov/population/www/popclockus.html

    The U.S. nets one international migrant every 44 seconds.

    COMPONENT SETTINGS FOR APRIL 2012One birth every 8 secondsOne death every 13 secondsOne international migrant (net) every 44 secondsNet gain of one person every 14 seconds

  • krak11

    Birth rates in Mexico are now likely lower than in US. It’s hard to beleive that they had 6 kids per female in 80-ties. I’ve been to Monterrey lately. The city looks like western european. If they can easily get a job in auto parts factory for 4 -6 $/h , than what’s the point going to US and clean swimming pools in California for 9$/h  leaving everything behind?

    • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

       Also, they planted their “seeds” here.  The Mexicans who went home are the ones who aren’t good in English, love Mexico and spent most of their lives there.  The kids are getting a free education, (in California through university) and groomed to take over.

      Whites buy into it.  Public education is the culprit.  The education system gets its funding from property taxes.  Bringing in enough students to justify continued support of teachers and administration, and all the side services that depend upon having students to teach ensures that immigration polices will continue so that all these people can keep their jobs, for now.

    • The_Bobster

      I believe it’s 2.2, still higher than the White birth rate. The rate is 3.7 for those that come here.


      While Mexico is now transitioning to the third phase of demographic transition, close to 50% of the population in 2009 was 25 and younger.[4] Fertility rates have also decreased from 5.7 children per woman in 1976 to 2.2 in 2006.[5]

  • No

    Would you want to hire a coyote for thousands of dollars, risk rape and murder, hop a fence, risk arrest and deportation,  cross a desert . . . just to end up in Los Angeles and put up with murderously feral blacks, arrogant asians, rich jews and some pimple-faced La Raza clown telling you that we should hand the whole thing back to Mexico?

    No thanks.  I’ll stay home and be poor . . . grow some corn, mash some beans,  drink a little of that 120-proof tequilla and go see if my fat wife wants to go take a little siesta with me . . . .

    • Southern__Hoosier

      “Would you want to hire a coyote…..”

       Sure, thousands do it everyday.

      • The_Bobster

        The ultimate prize is U.S. citizenship.

        • Southern__Hoosier

          Why would they want US citizenship? They don’t need it to get jobs, vote, get free medical care,instate tuition or any other government benefits. If they had US citizenship then someone might expect the to pay taxes.

  • Southern__Hoosier

    Considering the source of this article, does anyone believe that  ”
    Illegal Immigration Hits Net Zero?” This is just more liberal propaganda to make people think that the illegal immigration problem  has magical solved itself. Even if it where true, there are still 10-15 million illegals here.  

    • The_Bobster

      More like 30-38 million.

  •  “Christian” Science Monitor. That Christian part says it all. Jesus loves us all, black and yellow brown and white and they all NEED to be imported into a White, Western country.

    Look at their pandering to Hispanics by sticking up for illegals and for their support of refugee resettlement and volunteer agency work.

  • No

    I agree.  The mestizos are Aztec and Mayan stone-age savages . . . but at least they have a culture, they respect families, they have a moral code (as bizarre as it might be), they have a spiritual side (sort of) etc, etc.  They are different from us in the HOW but we’re alike in the WHAT.

    Negroes, on the other hand, just don’t appear human to me.  I’ve watched them in their natural habitats and they’re something else . . . proto-human, sub-human . . . whatever you want to call it.

    Technically, we are the same species because according to the definition,  a black and white can have sex and produce offspring.

    But just like the dog species has BREEDS that are unique, I believe whites and blacks are totally different breeds and they simply can’t live alognside us.

    White and mestizo breeds are much closer.

  • ageofknowledge

    Pure Baloney. Look at the U.S. population clock for April, 2012.

    The U.S. nets one international migrant every 44 seconds.

    COMPONENT SETTINGS FOR APRIL 2012 One birth every 8 seconds One death every 13 seconds One international migrant (net) every 44 seconds Net gain of one person every 14 seconds

    At least 40% are from Mexico. We’re still gaining here.

  • bon1966

    That’s weird, I see more Mexicans everywhere I go. Small town America has them now too. My wife and I recently visited Sarasota, FL..plenty of Mexicans. On our way back, we stopped in Venice Beach, FL, a small beach town with great history. There were Mexicans everywhere. It wasn’t that way just last year when we took the same route. They seem to be migrating into small towns. It makes no sense, it’s easier to hide in a big city.

  • The_Bobster

    a critical shortage of skills (such as required in the fields of science and engineering).


    I hope you aren’t drinking the cheap labor lobby Koolaid. There are 0ne million STEM professionals either unemployed or working out of their field, yet the elites keep screaming for more H-1bs.

  • The_Bobster

    A pyrrhic victory at best.

  • Flytrap

     Or they might try and hire blacks, and afterwards fondly remember the work ethic of the Mexicans. 

    • Anon12

      That “flytrap” of yours is cutting off the blood supply to your brain.

      I “fondly” remember the days that Whites were “allowed” to work and build this country, from the ground up,  not blacks and not mexicans. We see the nations they have built haven’t we? Seems to me that WHITES created this nation, not the d…mexicans and there were very few mexicans in this land to do much of anything. 

      As for the mexican “work ethic”, I have seen it up close and personal and I get so tired of that phrase mindlessly being used over and over again, because it is NOT true. Notice how all these nonwhites “immigrate ”  here AFTER WE have built this nation and gave away all our freebies to them?

      BTW, there are numerous reports of the shoddy work these mexicans  have done in the construction industry.  Maybe you need to check out the complaints in the housing industry and from homeowners who are now seeing that shoddy work up close.

  • Kent Wilson

    OK , stop!!! Christian Science is NOT Christianity in any way, shape, or form. Please do not confuse the two.

    • Anon12

       Are you saying that most Christian churches today are teaching and practicing the TRUTH of God’s Word?  If so, you are delusional.   I know what Christian Science is and I said they are the “do-gooder” types just like our MS Christians are of today.

      • Kent Wilson

        You can believe what you want, just don’t try and pass Christian Science off as Christianity.