Monday, March 30, 2009

More on that Mexican "exodus"

The Houston Chronicle has another "exodus to Mexico" story. I am trying to keep an open mind about this, but I am still waiting for a good argument to convince me that it is actually occurring.

One problem is simply the reporting, which I have mentioned before. This particular article opens with the story of a guy who is making much less than in Mexico than he did in Houston. So he chose to do this? Actually, no.

Pichardo said he is not likely to make the dangerous journey to cross the Texas-Mexico border since he has restarted his life in his home state of Guanajuato. He returned home in September 2007 after an arrest on immigration charges, and now can’t afford the expensive smuggling fees to cross the border. He’s also heard work is increasingly scarce.

So he is in fact an example of someone choosing not to emigrate, rather than someone coming home voluntarily. He was deported!

Meanwhile, the report also interviews the director of the Guanajuato state social development office, who immediately rejects the idea of an exodus as "alarmist reports."

The only hard figure the reporter uses is the DHS estimate that the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. has declined very slightly. That may suggest people have left and not come back, but even a small margin of error (and we are talking about rough estimates for this sort of thing) could point in a different direction.

There will always be people returning to Mexico, because that is how migration patterns have worked for decades. Some people might choose to stay, but as of now the number is relatively small.


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