The bi-national nonprofit known as MATT, Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together, based in San Antonio and Mexico City, released a study indicating migration patterns have hit reverse, and the majority chose to leave the U.S.
The results were presented Tuesday at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
Southern Methodist University and the Mexican state of Jalisco also were involved in looking at why more Mexicans are returning to their homeland, by interviewing 600 migrants there.
Aracely Garcia-Granados, MATT executive director, said, “We decided to undertake a study that would provide a first-ever look at a group of immigrants.”
“The U.S./Mexico Cycle: The End of an Era” reports that by 2007, a record 12.6 million Mexicans were living in the U.S., but fewer are now coming and more are leaving.
“I think this is the end of the level of immigration that we have seen,” said Dr. Joachim Singelmann, who chairs the demography department at the UTSA downtown campus.
He said the MATT study confirms what many already knew or believed.
It showed 89 percent were not deported, but instead decided to leave either because of family issues, nostalgia or the inability to find U.S. jobs during the Great Recession.
“Still a lot of jobs are not there, particularly at the lower skill levels,” Singelmann said.
Once they return, he said the study indicated more found work, became self-employed or started small businesses.
“If you saved a little money, you can buy a house in Mexico, which you cannot do here, so money stretches further,” the UTSA demographer said.
The researchers also found the majority of those interviewed said they would not return to the U.S., only 30 percent were willing, yet 90 percent said they wished to do so legally.
Many have found themselves at the mercy of human smuggling organizations or given increased border security, now may find it harder to re-enter the U.S.
“We learned that this population is returning home, ready to apply their learned experiences and talents," said Garcia-Granados.
Garcia-Granados said MATT plans additional studies in other Mexican states.