Thursday, April 02, 2009

Drug violence and return migration

The Migration Policy Institute has a new report examining immigration and the current economic crisis. It echoes my own sense that there is no large scale return migration to Mexico. However, it cites one reason I had not contemplated before--the rising level of drug-related violence in Mexico (and in Central America). In other words, it is possible that undocumented immigrants are concerned enough about the violence that it becomes one (of many) reasons to stay in the United States.

Indeed, several characteristics of this population and recent trends along the Southwest border and in Mexico and Central America suggest that large returns may be unlikely. These include
  • unauthorized immigrants' high degree of attachment to the labor force;
  • unauthorized workers' greater mobility between sectors and high geographic mobility within the United States;
  • the rising cost of illegal entry to the United States, which has contributed to reducing back-and-forth migration dramatically over the past two decades;
  • increasing drug-related violence in Mexico and Central America

It makes sense, but I would need to see more evidence about how widespread the concern is.

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