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More people are actually moving from the US to Mexico

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In a twist to the decades-long trend of Mexican immigrants journeying to the United States, data show that in recent years, more people have done the opposite. Mexicans and US-born immigrants are moving from America to its southern neighbor in droves.

The phenomenon has been well-known for several years. Between 2009 and 2014, 1 million Mexicans, including their American-born children, left the US for Mexico, according to the 2014 Mexican National Survey of Demographic Dynamics.

US census data also show that in that same period of time, just 870,000 Mexicans migrated to the United States.

In May, Mexico’s statistics institute estimated that there are at least 799,000 US-born people living among the Mexican population. That’s four times as many as in 1990, according to The Washington Post, and is probably an underestimate.

Why Mexicans are returning home and why Americans are going with them

A man walks on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border barrier on April 3, 2019 in Tijuana, Mexico.
Getty Images/Mario Tama

There are a couple of reasons why more people are returning to Mexico than are migrating to the United States, but the main one is the American economy’s slow recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, according to the Pew Research Center.

Read more: The Trump administration’s tough border policies could be worsening a thriving black market of smugglers that’s only growing more sophisticated, experts say

Beyond that, Mexicans have an increasingly optimistic view of their lives south of the US-Mexico border.

While a 2015 Pew survey found that 48% of Mexican adults believed life would be better in the US, 33% of adults said they believed it would be neither better nor worse than life in Mexico — 10 percentage points higher than when adults were surveyed in 2007.

The migration trend has even begun to affect Mexican life, with American immigrants helping to boost local Mexican economies and transform neighborhoods and schools, The Post reported.

“It’s beginning to become a very important cultural phenomenon,” the Mexican foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, told The Post in an interview. “Like the Mexican community in the United States.”

Most Americans living in Mexico are unauthorized immigrants

Mexico City.
Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock

In yet another ironic twist, the vast majority of Americans living in Mexico are unauthorized immigrants or have errors with their paperwork, according to a 2015 study from Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography.

But unlike the Trump administration, which has vowed to crack down on illegal immigration and deport those who don’t have valid visas or green cards, the Mexican government has largely shrugged off the issue.

“We have never pressured them to have their documents in order,” Ebrard told The Post.

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