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Gringolandia: a nice place to visit but…

9 April 2012

Sara Miller Llana writes in The Christian Science Monitor about an overlooked change in U.S. immigration patterns. “Illegal immigrantion” from Mexico is statistically non-existent for the first time since the 1960s. While anti-social conditions (not just the anti-immigrant legislation and politics, but the “American way of life and the declining U.S. economy) have convinced many to return to Mexico, improving social conditions, more access to education and better infrastructure, are convincing more and more people to stay home.

“We can turn on the water and wash our clothes,” says Pedro’s uncle, Rodolfo Laguna, who spent 12 years working illegally in a chicken plant in Athens, Ga., before returning home in 2010 after both he and his son lost their jobs.

This is the new face of rural Mexico. Villages emptied out in the 1980s and ’90s in one of the largest waves of migration in history. Today there are clear signs that a human tide is returning to towns both small and large across Mexico.

One million Mexicans said they returned from the US between 2005 and 2010, according to a new dem-ographic 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.

(Full article here)

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