Immigration Down, Violence and Business Up at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Things are not what they used to be along the U.S.-Mexico border, which has been characterized for generations as a place where illegal Mexicans sneak onto American soil in ever growing numbers to take advantage of economic opportunities.

These days things are operating in reverse. Immigration from Mexico has dropped off dramatically in the wake of The Great Recession, while business is booming on the other side of the border.
During the first half of the previous decade, an average of 850,000 people a year entered the United States illegally. But as the economy tanked between 2007 and 2009, the influx of unauthorized immigrants dropped to 300,000.
Mexicans are less motivated to come to America now that more and more jobs are available in border towns on their side of the border. The region is still troubled by drug-related violence, but the shootings and killings haven’t scared off businesses, yet.
As the New York Times wrote: “Even as drug organizations battle for turf around them, more TV sets are being assembled, car parts boxed up and electronic widgets soldered together in the large manufacturing plants here known as maquiladoras. The result is a boomlet in jobs in some of Mexico’s hardest-hit cities, a bright spot in an otherwise bleak stream of shootouts, departing small businesses and fear of random death.”
As of January, Mexico’s manufacturing sector grew by 8.2%, with much of this growth occurring in the auto and electronics industries located along the border.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Mexicans No Longer Immigrating to US? (by Joshua Holland, AlterNet)
Despite Violence, U.S. Firms Expand in Mexico (by Randal Archibold, New York Times)


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