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Mexico – U.S. Migration: Economic, Labor and Development Issues

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Abstract

This chapter explores the labor dynamics behind the recent downward trend in Mexico – U.S. migration and explores likely future employment scenarios in each country and their consequences for present and future international migration trends. The chapter examines the labor market roles of Mexican-born workers in the United States and return migrants in Mexico, emphasizing changes between 2000 and 2010 in the number and characteristics of Mexican-born workers in the United States, projections to 2022, and the impacts of returned workers on the Mexican labor market. The authors draw on projections, analyses of economic, labor market, and development micro data, as well as case studies.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Passel, J. & D. V. Cohn (2011). Unauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010, Washington D.C., <http://www.pewhispanic.org/2011/02/01/unauthorized-immigrant-population-brnational-and-state-trends-2010/>.

  2. 2.

    Autor, D. (2010). The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the U.S. Labor Market: Implications for Employment and Earnings. <https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-polarization-of-job-opportunities-in-the-u-s-labor-market-implications-for-employment-and-earnings/>.

  3. 3.

    Escobar, A. & S. F. Martin (eds.) (2008). Mexico-U.S. Migration Management. A Binational Approach. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

  4. 4.

    E-Verify is a federally administered program used by employers to electronically verify the work authorization of their employees who are new hires.

  5. 5.

    Secure Communities was a federal program where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents identify, locate, and deport removable aliens who have been arrested, typically by local police as a result of charges unrelated to their immigration status. As of late 2014, Secure Communities is no longer in effect.

  6. 6.

    Passel, J. S. & D. V. Cohn (2011). How Many Hispanics? Comparing New Census Counts with the Latest Census Estimates. Washington DC: Pew Research Center.

  7. 7.

    Council of Economic Advisers (cea) (2011). Economic Report of the President, <http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/economic-report-of-the-President>.

  8. 8.

    From a base of 100 in January 2003, the housing price index rose to over 150 in 2006 before declining to about 105 again since 2009, with cycles around this new and stable norm. About two-thirds of owner-occupied US homes have mortgages, and those who bought homes near the 2006 peak in home prices often owe more than their homes are worth; they collectively owed $750 billion more than their homes were worth in 2010. See: Council of Economic Advisers (cea) (2011). Economic Report of the President, <http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/economic-report-of-the-President>.

  9. 9.

    Council of Economic Advisers (cea) (2011). Economic Report of the President, <http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/economic-report-of-the-President>.

  10. 10.

    Council of Economic Advisers (cea) (2011). Economic Report of the President, <http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/economic-report-of-the-President>.

  11. 11.

    Autor, D. (2010). The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the U.S. Labor Market: Implications for Employment and Earnings. <https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-polarization-of-job-opportunities-in-the-u-s-labor-market-implications-for-employment-and-earnings/>.

  12. 12.

    Autor, D. (2010). The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the U.S. Labor Market: Implications for Employment and Earnings. <https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-polarization-of-job-opportunities-in-the-u-s-labor-market-implications-for-employment-and-earnings/>.

  13. 13.

    Kochhar, R. (2007). 1995–2005: Foreign-Born Latinos Make Progress on Wages. Retrieved from Washington D.C.: Pew Hispanic Center, <http://www.pewhispanic.org/2007/08/21/1995-2005-foreign-born-latinos-make-progress-on-wages/>.

  14. 14.

    Patten, E. (2012). 2010, Foreign-Born Population in the United States Statistical Portrait. Washington D.C., <http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/02/21/statistical-portrait-of-the-foreign-born-population-in-the-united-states-2010/>.

  15. 15.

    Foreign-born workers are 16 percent of US workers, but 28 percent of US workers with PhDs were born abroad (Newburger, E. & T. Gryn (2009). The Foreign-Born Labor Force in the United States: 2007, <http://www.census.gov/prod /2009pubs/acs-10.pdf>). Over 55 percent of foreign-born PhD holders in the U.S. labor force were born in Asia.

  16. 16.

    Patten, E. (2012). 2010, Foreign-Born Population in the United States Statistical Portrait. Washington D.C., <http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/02/21/statistical-portrait-of-the-foreign-born-population-in-the-united-states-2010/>.

  17. 17.

    Passel, J. & D. V. Cohn (2011). Unauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010, Washington D.C., <http://www.pewhispanic.org/2011/02/01/unauthorized-immigrant-population-brnational-and-state-trends-2010/>.

  18. 18.

    Although a smaller share of immigrant workers is 65 and older, this did not change after the 2007–2010 recession.

  19. 19.

    Surveys of hired farm workers find far higher shares of foreign-born workers, topping 75 percent. See: United States Department of Labor (dol) (s.a.). National Agricultural Workers Survey (naws), <http://www.doleta.gov/agworker/naws.cfm>.

  20. 20.

    Newburger, E. & T. Gryn (2009). The Foreign-Born Labor Force in the United States: 2007, <http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/acs-10.pdf>.

  21. 21.

    Orrenius, P. M. & M. Zavodny (2010). Mexican Immigrant Employment Outcomes over the Business Cycle. The American Economic Review, 100(2), 316–320, <doi:10.2307/27805011>.

  22. 22.

    Lacey, M. (2009). Money Trickles North as Mexicans Help Relatives. The New York Times, November 16, p. A1, <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/world/americas/16mexico.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all&>.

  23. 23.

    Specialty occupations under the 3-year TN visa include accountants, architects, computer programmers, engineers, nurses, physicians, professors, scientists, and social workers among others. See Organization of American States (oas) (1994). Agreements: nafta, Chapter 16, <http://www.sice.oas.org/trade/nafta/chap-161.asp#Chap.XVI> for full list.

  24. 24.

    Manufacturing employment as a share of U.S. employment peaked at one-third in the early 1940s. Manufacturing employment declined every year for a decade before increasing by 109,000 in 2010 and 237,000 in 2011. Some manufacturers in 2012 complained of labor shortages, asserting that they were unable to find enough machinists and technicians.

  25. 25.

    Parrado, E. A. & W. A. Kandel (2010). Hispanic Population Growth and Rural Income Inequality. Social Forces, 88(3), 1421–1450, <doi:10.1353/sof.0.0291>.

  26. 26.

    agc of America (2007). “agc’s Top Legislative Issues for the 19th Congress”, <https://web.archive.org/web/20060614224054/http://www.bipac.net/page.asp?g=agc&content=topissue>; and National Association of Home Builders (nahb) (2008). Workforce Development, <https://web.archive.org/web/20081119162724/www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?sectionID=198&genericContentID=3515&print=true>.

  27. 27.

    Quoted in Rural Migration News (1999). Operation Vanguard, ibp. Rural Migration News, 5(3), <https://migration.ucdavis.edu/rmn/more.php?id=377_0_2_0>.

  28. 28.

    Hanson, G. H. & A. Spilimbergo (1999). Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border. American Economic Review, 89(5), 1337–1357, <doi:doi: 10.1257/aer.89.5.1337> found that tougher border enforcement was correlated with lower wages in Mexican border cities, suggesting enforcement has a deterrent effect. Gathmann, and Amuedo-Dorantes & Bansak also find border enforcement drives up smuggler prices and lowers the probability of attempting an illegal crossing. See: Gathmann, C. (2008). Effects of Enforcement on Illegal Markets: Evidence from Migrant Smuggling Along the Southwestern Border. Journal of Public Economics, 92(10–11), 1926–1941, <doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpubeco.2008.04.006>; and Amuedo-Dorantes, C. & C. Bansak (2011). The Effectiveness of Border Enforcement in Deterring Repetitive Illegal Crossing Attempts. San Diego State University, Department of Economics.

  29. 29.

    Bansak, C. & S. Raphael (2001). Immigration Reform and the Earnings of Latino Workers: Do Employer Sanctions Cause Discrimination? Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 54(2), 275–295, <doi:10.2307/2696011>.

  30. 30.

    Orrenius, P. M. & M. Zavodny (2009). The Effects of Tougher Enforcement on the Job Prospects of Recent Latin American Immigrants. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 28(2), 239-257, <doi:10.1002/pam.20425>.

  31. 31.

    Lofstrom, M., S. Bohn & S. Raphael (2011). Lessons from the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act. San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California.

  32. 32.

    Amuedo-Dorantes, C. & C. Bansak (2012). The Labor Market Impact of Mandated Employment Verification Systems. American Economic Review, 102(3), 543–548.

  33. 33.

    Lockard, C. B. & M. Wolf (2012). Occupational employment projections to 2020. Monthly Labour Review, 135, 84–108.

  34. 34.

    Bustamante J. (1975). Espaldas mojadas: materia prima para la expansión del capitalismo. Mexico City: El Colegio de México.

  35. 35.

    Passel, J. & D. V. Cohn (2011). Unauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010, Washington D.C., <http://www.pewhispanic.org/2011/02/01/unauthorized-immigrant-population-brnational-and-state-trends-2010/>.

  36. 36.

    Berumen, S. & J. S. Hernández (2009). ¿Quiénes son los que se van? La selectividad de la emigración mexicana. In: J. Arroyo & S. Berumen (eds.). Migración a Estados Unidos: remesas, autoempleo e informalidad laboral (pp. 179–200). Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara / Secretaría de Gobernación / Instituto Nacional de Migración, Centro de Estudios Migratorios / dge Ediciones.

  37. 37.

    Between January 2011 and January 2014 the construction industry gained more than half a million workers.

  38. 38.

    Arroyo, J., S. Berumen & D. Rodríguez (2010). Nuevas tendencias de largo plazo de la emigración de mexicanos a Estados Unidos y sus remesas. Papeles de Poblacion, 16(63), 9–48.

  39. 39.

    Arroyo, J., S. Berumen & D. Rodríguez (2010). Nuevas tendencias de largo plazo de la emigración de mexicanos a Estados Unidos y sus remesas. Papeles de Poblacion, 16(63), 9–48; and Quittre, A. (2010). La crisis y sus consecuencias en Michoacán: migración, narcotráfico y clientelismo. New Cultural Frontiers, 1(1), 27–44.

  40. 40.

    Mexico’s national accounts define “informal economy” based on three characteristics. One, activity is made up of a micro business or small-scale operation. Two, goods and services generated and sold are not proscribed by law or subject to an exemption. Three, the assets and business expenses are indistinguishable from those of the operator; that is, the business has no status independent of its owner.

  41. 41.

    However, unemployment estimation does not take into account properly the informal agricultural employment. If this employment is included, informality could rise about 10 percent.

  42. 42.

    See Berumen, S., L. F. Ramos & I. Ureta (2011). Migrantes mexicanos aprehendidos y devueltos por Estados Unidos. Estimaciones y características generales. Apuntes sobre Migración, (2, September), 1–10.

  43. 43.

    Return migrants are Mexicans who resided in the United States 5 years previous to Mexican census and those defined as circular migrants for years 2000 and 2010. The figure for 2010 was adjusted to exclude those born in the U.S. who have Mexican parents, as well as those falling in the intersection of circular migrants and return migrants 5 years previous to the census. See Tables 1.1 and 1.2 of Chap. 1 in this book for further discussions and analysis.

  44. 44.

    Arroyo, J. & J. Papail (eds.) (2004). Los dólares de la migración. Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara / Institut de Recherche pour le Développement / Profmex / Casa Juan Pablosolp; and Papail, J. & J. Arroyo (2009). Migración a Estados Unidos y autoempleo: doce ciudades pequeñas de la reguón centro-occidente de México. Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara / Profmex / Casa Juan Pablos.

  45. 45.

    In 2012, Mexican minimum wage was 4.8 dollars per day.

  46. 46.

    There were 4.6 million Mexican-born workers in the US in 2000 and 7 million in 2010. About two-thirds did not complete high school in 2000, and 55 percent did not complete high school in 2010. The number who arrived in the previous 5 years was 1.2 million in 2000 and 900,000 in 2010.

  47. 47.

    See Escobar, A. (2008). Mexican Policy and Mexico-U.S. Migration. In: A. Escobar & S. Martin (eds.). Mexico-U.S. Migration Management: A Binational Approach (pp. 179–216). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

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Arroyo, J., Berumen, S., Martin, P., Orrenius, P. (2022). Mexico – U.S. Migration: Economic, Labor and Development Issues. In: Escobar Latapí, A., Masferrer, C. (eds) Migration Between Mexico and the United States. IMISCOE Research Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-77810-1_2

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