Tuesday, May 21, 2019
The Washington Post and The Independent contain an interesting story about southward migration across the U.S.-Mexico border: "President Trump regularly assails the flow of migrants crossing the Mexican border into the United States. Less noticed has been the surge of people heading in the opposite direction. Mexico’s statistics institute estimated this month that the U.S.-born population in this country has reached 799,000 — a roughly fourfold increase since 1990. And that is probably an undercount. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City estimates the real number at 1.5 million or more."
The migrant flow contains both U.S. citizens and returned Mexican nationals. The U.S. citizens include workers in the digital economy who can work wherever they choose, retirees, and U.S.-born kids who want to reunite with Mexican families. The returning Mexicans include individuals who want to reunite with families and deported migrants. As the article reports, "If the thousands of Mexicans moving home are taken into account, the flow of migrants from the United States to Mexico is probably larger than the flow of Mexicans to the United States."
The U.S. population in Mexico is still much smaller than the Mexican immigrant population north of the border, but the American migration and settlement is impacting Mexican communities. It is altering the character of schools, injecting money into the Mexican economy, and leading to renovation of homes in historic centers. Some municipalities celebrate American holdiays like Thanksgiving and political leaders make speeches in English and Spanish. In other words, the cities welcome American immigrants. As one mayor said, "Despite the fact that Donald Trump insults my country every day, here we receive the entire international community, beginning with Americans, with open arms and hearts,” Villareal said. Mexican authorities say that many of the Americans are probably undocumented — typically, they’ve overstayed their six-month visas -- but the government does not pressure the Americans to have documents in order and typically assesses a small fine.