This is a big story that few are noticing. It has all sorts of ramifications. Immigrants (both kinds) from Mexico are returning home where the jobs are better.
Pew Research Center measures all kinds of demographic changes, including, through its Hispanic Center, the flow of immigration into the US from Mexico. It recently noted that it’s turned around, and is now emigration:
With opportunities limited by a still-struggling economy, the historic wave of Mexican immigration appears to have reversed after decades of growth that transformed the U.S., according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonprofit research group.
The numbers are impressive: the number leaving for Mexico from the US has doubled over the last five years:
With the change of direction that may again reshape communities in both countries, about 1.4 million Mexican immigrants in the U.S. returned home from 2005 to 2010, most voluntarily, the center reported last spring. That number, which also includes deportations, is roughly double the number of Mexicans who left the U.S. between 1995 and 2000.
The article quotes an inevitable college professor with an opinion:
“I believe the era of great Mexican migration is probably over,” said Allert Brown-Gort, a fellow at Notre Dame University’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies who has written extensively about Latin American immigration in the Midwest.
With jobs lacking, “slowly but surely your options start getting cut down,” Brown-Gort said.
The professor then relates it to Chicago (where the article originated), and makes a very good point:
“What’s going to happen in Chicago if these workers go back, to the extent that they’re younger workers, is that it will be taking a wedge out of certain areas of the economy.”
That “wedge” is, of course, in the lower-income part of the Chicago, and national, economy. Low paying service industry positions will become available or cease to exist altogether. People will make do without if they can’t afford to pay the higher wages that will be necessary to get those jobs done. One single example will suffice: landscaping services. If the owner of a landscaping company has to pay more for his help, he’ll have to raise his prices to homeowners. If the prices go high enough, the homeowner will skip it, or else do it himself. It’s the free market sorting supply and demand.
Politically, of course, the emigration has momentous impact as well: who is going to worry about immigration problems if the folks are leaving?
Isn’t life interesting? Just when we think we know something for sure, it changes.