MATT Releases Key Findings and Raw Data from First-Ever Study on the Factors Driving the Return of Mexican Immigrants to Mexico
1/14/2014 - Wilson Center | Mexico Institute
As 1.4 million Mexicans returned to Mexico between 2005 and 2010. MATT recognized a gap in the resources and services available to these migrants upon their return. In response, MATT created an initiative called Yo Soy Mexico, which works to match returning...
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By Elaine Ayala
January 26, 2014 | Updated: January 26, 2014 10:23pm
SAN ANTONIO — When Presidents Barack Obama and Enrique Peña Nieto meet in Toluca next month for a North American summit, among the accords signed will be a new academic exchange program between Mexico and the United States. Proyecto Cien Mil, or Project 100,000, will bring that many Mexican university students to the United States by 2018.
The United States will reciprocate by sending 50,000 students to Mexican universities within that same time frame.
In a Mexican newspaper report, U.S. and Mexican officials touted the exchange program as a way for the U.S.-Mexican region (and it's considered a region to the rest of the world) to raise its global competitiveness.
Hand in hand with that initiative, findings were released of a study by the Mexico City- and San Antonio-based Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together, or MATT. Conducted with Southern Methodist University and at the Washington, D.C.-based Wilson Center, “The U.S. Mexico Cycle: The End of an Era” found that assumptions about Mexican return migration aren't altogether correct.
Experts have thought Mexican immigrants return to their country — 1.4 million between 2005 and 2010 and more since then — because of deportation, the unavailability of U.S. jobs and anti-immigrant legislation.
All those reasons still pay a role in migration back to Mexico, but the study, conducted in Jalisco with 600 returning immigrants, found the major reason for leaving the United States was that they never intended to stay permanently.
“Eighty-nine percent chose to return to Mexico on their own, despite the general belief that most returned through deportation,” the study found.
The top reason for returning was family concerns. More than half reported they wouldn't return, and 30 percent said they would. Of those, more than 90 percent said they would seek to immigrate legally.
“One of the things that impressed me the most was that 20 percent who went back, went back with money and invested in a business,” said Aracely Garcia-Granados, MATT executive director. “In five years, 75 percent of those 20 percent were still in business.”
MATT's Yo Soy Mexico project, which matches returning immigrants with job, education and investment opportunities, led to the study.
Garcia-Granados said MATT is conducting two other studies in the states of Hidalgo and Coahuila, and similar figures are surfacing. In Hidalgo, 72 percent of returning immigrants said family was the chief motivator for going back. In Coahuila, it was 63 percent.
“They wanted to take care of their parents,” Garcia-Granados said. “Their mother went back, and the (adult) children wanted to go back, too.”
The third reason they left was economy or job-related, at about 11 percent. An anti-immigrant environment came in at 1.7 percent. The study reveals a trend. “The new reality is that people are going and aren't coming back,” she said.
In many ways, Proyecto Cien Mil and the MATT study are engaged in producing the same valuable commodity: understanding. So much of what passes for that in the United States about Mexico is based on total misunderstanding, especially in what Mexican immigrants provide to the U.S. economy. That will come into focus if, at some point, fewer of them immigrate, and if possibly more, less-familiar immigrant workers arrive at U.S. ports.
Hosting 100,000 Mexican university students in the United States and sending 50,000 U.S. students to Mexico will give all of them invaluable experiences in the short-term. In the longer view, they'll help both countries in the North American region better understand one another. Perhaps that can lead to better public policy.
“Our goal is to create a prosperous region and start dealing with one another binationally,” Garcia-Granados said. “We believe in creating a more bicultural region. Being bilingual isn't as important.”
What is important, she added, “is for Mexico to better understand the United States and the United States to better understand Mexico.
MATT.org press release on new study
MATT's new study on Mexican return migration http://www.expressnews.com/news/us-world/border-mexico/article/Survey-looks-at-reasons-for-return-immigration-5143374.php | Survey looks at reasons for return immigration
Excelsior story about academic exchange program (in Spanish)
Obama to visit Mexico in February for North American summit
S.774 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, clears committee in bipartisan vote increasing its prospects of becoming law
Written by: Miryam Hazan, Ph.D.
After having considered 301 amendments during five days of deliberation, the Senate Judiciary Committee finally approved with minor modifications the immigration reform bill originally put together by a bipartisan group of Senators, the “gang of eight”, setting up its debate in the floor for early June.
Thirteen senators voted in favor of S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, while only five voted against it. The Republicans that voted in favor included Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Orrin Hatch of Utah.
Growing up I gave my parents a hard time when they tried teaching me Spanish. They would ask me something in Spanish and I would reply in English. However, my parents never gave up as they saw the future benefit of being bilingual in the United States. After summers of visiting my family and living in Mexico for a few years, I am now fluent in Spanish and took on the challenge of learning French in college. Looking back, I wish my parents spoke more languages because being bilingual today does set you apart and makes you more attractive to employers. With today’s economy, any skill that can give you an advantage over another is worth having.
E.E.U.U. – Mientras la Reforma Migratoria sigue avanzando en el Senado, más de 2 millones de jornaleros de la construcción y trabajadoras del hogar en Estados Unidos están en riesgo de no ser legalizados por falta de documentación laboral probatoria. Tampoco cuentan con recursos para solventar los trámites necesarios en caso de una amnistía.
De acuerdo con la organización Build a Better Nation, 400 mil trabajadores indocumentados de construcción en Texas y más de un millón en Estados Unidos presentan un grave riesgo de no poder realizar su legalización.
E.E.U.U. – Se inició en el panel Judicial del Senado el debate de 300 enmiendas sobre la Reforma Migratoria, proyecto del Grupo de los Ocho, cuyo componente central es una vía a la ciudadanía en un plazo de 13 años para millones de indocumentados.
Charles Schumer, senador demócrata de Nueva York y uno de los integrantes del Grupo de los Ocho, dijo que la Reforma es un proyecto totalmente balanceado y fuerte que debe empezar su curso, que de concretarse no sólo beneficiará a miles de familias inmigrantes, sino a la economía y la nación. Hizo un llamado a la oposición republicana, sobre todo al sector que intentará deshacer la medida con enmiendas destructivas.
Este blog está basado en la información de la agencia informativa Reuters.
Un grupo bipartidista de ocho senadores revelaron en días pasados una propuesta legislativa, con el objetivo de renovar las políticas migratorias estadounidenses por primera vez desde 1986.
La propuesta tiene 3 objetivos principales: 1) Diseñar un “camino” para la obtención de un estatus legal y poder lograr la ciudadanía de millones de inmigrantes indocumentados 2) Asegurar las fronteras de Estados Unidos, evitando así la entrada irregular de personas. 3) Facilitar la contratación de personal extranjero para industria de alta tecnología y agricultura principalmente, cuando sea necesario.
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD of the New York Times
Americans who are unfamiliar with the immigration justice system might be surprised to learn how much it skimps on actual justice. The notion of a fair day in court becomes only theoretical when immigrants lack attorneys, as most do, when their deportation cases are not reviewed by judges, as too often happens, and when they are locked up in prisons unable to see their families, even though they have been accused only of civil violations — and many have never been convicted of anything
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