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Survey shows Mexico's lure stronger

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Cronkite News Service
Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

WASHINGTON — More than half of Mexican immigrants who moved back home said in a recent survey that they have no intention of returning to the United States, even though many left family here and most had positive experiences.

Those were among the findings of a recent report that said the cycle of Mexican-U.S. immigration has reached the “end of an era.”

“We recognize a new era of return migration where record numbers of Mexicans are returning home and fewer are coming to the United States,” said Aracely Garcia-Granados, executive director of the nonprofit Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together.

Granados spoke at last week's release of a report by MATT and Southern Methodist University, which was based on interviews with 600 people in the Mexican state of Jalisco who had lived in the United States. The interviews were done in mid-2013 with Mexicans who had been out of the country for at least a year before returning.

Just under two-thirds of them said they came to the United States for work. But while 77 percent said they came here illegally, about 89 percent said they returned home voluntarily. Only 11 percent claimed to have been deported.

About 37 percent said they went home for family reasons, and another 29.1 percent said it was because they were homesick. Only 4.3 percent said the fear of being deported drove them to cross back over the border.

However they got back home, 53 percent said they had no plans to return to the United States. This despite the fact that 54 percent said they have family in this country and 88 percent cited a positive experience while living here.

The findings are the latest twist in an immigration cycle in which as many as 12.6 million Mexicans were in the United States before the recession hit in 2007, Granados said.

She said that between 2005 and 2010, close to 1.4 million Mexicans moved back home from the United States.

“The No. 1 reason is the economic recession,” said Daniel E. Martinez, an assistant professor at George Washington University's sociology department. “Some people have also argued it's because of increased border enforcement.”

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