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New figures show (another) drop in Mexicans coming to the US

The US recession continues to discourage would-be immigrants, with fresh Mexican government numbers showing a 40 percent drop in Mexicans emigrating in the past two years.

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The number of Mexicans leaving the country to go abroad in the third quarter of this year dropped nearly 10 percent from the same period last year and fell about 40 percent compared to the number in 2007, as the recession in the US continued to discourage would-be immigrants.

According to numbers released this week by the National Statistics and Geography Institute (INEGI) in Mexico, some 142,052 Mexicans emigrated in the third quarter of this year. That's down from 155,090 last year and 234,146 the year before.

“It’s primarily the economy, because these are people who have been coming to the US for many years in response to labor market demands,” says Doris Meissner, director of the US Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington. “That went away with the recession.”

In the US, some 7.2 million jobs have been lost since December 2007. The foreign-born population has been the hardest hit. From 1994 to 2007, employment among immigrants was higher than that of natives, reaching 66 percent in 2007 compared to 63 percent for natives. But from the start of the recession through the first half of 2009, unemployment among immigrants rose to 9.2 percent (from a low of 3.4 percent), according to a Migration Policy Institute report, “Tied to the Business Cycle: How Immigrants Fare in Good and Bad Economic Times,” released in November. The native unemployment rate stood at 8.3 percent.


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