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Mexican Social Programs, Departures and Return Migration

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Abstract

Mexico–U.S. migration has been conceived of as triggered by a post-colonial relationship, influenced by economic development and income gaps, and sustained, over the long term, by the social connections arising from the movement itself. The significant shift in Mexico–U.S. net migration rate to a level close to zero between 2008 and 2020 has often been explained by a combination of diminishing market demand—due to the Great Recession, together with the attrition in migrant stocks derived in part from more than 1000 anti-immigrant bills after 2001 at the federal, state, and local levels in the U.S., as well as from a large amount of removals and deportations. Together, these two factors underline the significance of market forces in the U.S. and more effective removal/deterrence of undocumented immigrants. We believe this view makes a major contribution to an explanation of the change in migrations flows, but stills fails to account for it, both in terms of the non-economic determinants of well-being, and in terms of Mexico’s role in migration. These changes take place in a broader set of social policy changes in Mexico, where, from 1997 onwards, there was a significant effort to expand the social protection safety net.

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Map 7.1
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Notes

  1. 1.

    Portes, A. & R. L. Bach (1985). Latin Journey: Cuban and Mexican Immigrants in the United States. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  2. 2.

    Massey, D. S., R. Alarcón, J. Durand & H. González (1987). Return to Aztlan. The Social Process of International Migration from Western Mexico. Berkeley: University of California Press; Massey, D. S., J. Arango, G. Hugo, A. Kouaouci, A. Pellegrino & J. E. Taylor (1993). Theories of International Migration: A Review and Appraisal. Population and Development Review, 19(3), 431–466; and Escobar, A., F. D. Bean y S. Weintraub (1999). The Dynamics of Mexican Emigration. London: Palgrave.

  3. 3.

    The National Conference of State Legislatures analyzes state and local laws and resolutions related to immigration. While the balance until 2011 had been mostly restrictive, in 2013 there were two new developments. Firstly, the number of states allowing the provision of driver licenses to unauthorized residents rose by eight to 11, with a few others passing more limited versions of these bills. Second, in the wake of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), some states allowed certain benefits to undocumented university students, including access to in-state tuition and sometimes state funding. See Morse, A. (2014). 2013 Immigration Report. National Conference of State Legislatures, January 20, <http://www.ncsl.org/research/immigration/2013-immigration-report.aspx>.

  4. 4.

    Massey, D. S. & K. E. Espinosa (1997). What’s Driving Mexico-U.S. Migration? A Theoretical, Empirical, and Policy Analysis. American Journal of Sociology, 102(4), 939–999.

  5. 5.

    López, G. (1999). La educación en la experiencia migratoria de niños migrantes. In: G. Mummert (ed.). Fronteras fragmentadas (pp. 359–374). Zamora: El Colegio de Michoacán.

  6. 6.

    See Escobar, A. (ed.) (2008). Pobreza y migración internacional. Mexico: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social.

  7. 7.

    Angelucci, M. (2004). Aid and Migration: An Analysis of the Impact of Progresa on the Timing and Size of Labour Migration. iza Discussion Papers, 1187; Badillo, C. (2009). Evaluating the Direct and Indirect Effects of a Conditional Income Support Program: The Case of Progresa. Doctoral Dissertation. United Kingdom: University of Essex; Stecklov, G., P. Winters, M. Stampini & B. Davis (2005). Do Conditional Cash Transfers Influence Migration? A Study Using Experimental Data from the Mexican Progresa Program. Demography, 42(4), 769–790.

  8. 8.

    It was formally named: Sistema de Protección Social en Salud, or Health Social Protection System.

  9. 9.

    Secretaría de Salud (ssa) (2006). Sistema de protección social en salud: elementos conceptuales, financieros y operativos. Mexico: ssa/Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública/Funsalud/Fondo de Cultura Económica.

  10. 10.

    Consejo Nacional de Evaluación de la Política de Desarrollo Social (Coneval) (2010). Dimensiones de la seguridad alimentaria: evaluación estratégica de nutrición y abasto. Mexico: Coneval.

  11. 11.

    Skoufias, E., B. Davis & J. Behrman (1999). An Evaluation of the Selection of Beneficiary Households in the Education, Health, and Nutrition Program (Progresa) of Mexico. Final Report. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute; and Oportunidades (2006). Reevaluación de localidades incorporadas en las primeras fases del Programa 1997–1998: justificación. Internal document. Mexico: Secretaría de Desarrollo Social.

  12. 12.

    Consejo Nacional de Evaluación de la Política de Desarrollo Social (Coneval) (2010). Dimensiones de la seguridad alimentaria: evaluación estratégica de nutrición y abasto. Mexico: Coneval.

  13. 13.

    In theory, they access “open coverage” services provided by the health ministry, but the services provided there have always been very basic, and quality has dropped recently because the health ministry is also serving the Seguro Popular population, thus crowding out those without that affiliation.

  14. 14.

    This table includes only those households reporting at least one member who is more than 69 years of age. This is the only program showing this positive association, indicating a more modest improvement in household well-being on the basis of this program, and/or better targeting of the poor.

  15. 15.

    Two contrasting mechanisms can be at play. First, the analysis of the cross-section data can be accounting for the monetary transfers to beneficiary households (in particular Oportunidades and Programa 70 y más) that help alleviate food deficits. And second, other studies have shown that access to social programs is affected by information and cost constraints that can bar the poorest households.

  16. 16.

    Martínez, E. (2000). Emigrar por desesperación: Progresa y la migración interna e internacional. In: A. Escobar y M. González (comps.). Progresa: Más oportunidades para las familias pobres. Evaluación de Resultados del Programa de Educación, Salud y Alimentación. Impacto a nivel comunitario (pp. 95–116). Mexico: Secretaría de Desarrollo Social; Tesliuc, E. D. & K. Lindert (2002). Social Protection, Private Transfers and Poverty: Guatemala Poverty Assessment Program; Maitra, P. & R. Ray (2003). The Effect of Transfers on Household Expenditure Patterns and Poverty in South Africa. Journal of Development Economics, 71(1), 23–49; Angelucci, M. (2004). Aid and Migration: An Analysis of the Impact of Progresa on the Timing and Size of Labour Migration. iza Discussion Papers, 1187; Giannetti, M., D. Federici & M. Raitano (2009). Migrant Remittances and Inequality in Central-Eastern Europe. International Review of Applied Economics, 23(3), 289–307; Van den Berg, M. & N. V. Cuong (2011). Impact of Public and Private Cash Transfers on Poverty and Inequality: Evidence from Vietnam. Development Policy Review, 29(6), 689–728, <doi:10.1111/j.1467-7679.2011.00553.x>; and Hagen-Zanker, J. & C. L. Himmelstine (2013). What Do we Know about the Impact of Social Protection Programmes on the Decision to Migrate? Migration and Development, 2(1), 117–131.

  17. 17.

    Angelucci, M. (2004). Aid and Migration: An Analysis of the Impact of Progresa on the Timing and Size of Labour Migration. iza Discussion Papers, 1187; Carton de Grammont, H. (2003). Migración y pobreza. In: R. Cordera, L. Lomelí & R. E. Montes de Oca (eds.). La cuestión social: superación de la pobreza y política social a 7 años de Copenhague (pp. 57–67). Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Martínez, E. (2000). Emigrar por desesperación: Progresa y la migración interna e internacional. In: A. Escobar & M. González (comps.). Progresa: Más oportunidades para las familias pobres. Evaluación de Resultados del Programa de Educación, Salud y Alimentación. Impacto a nivel comunitario (pp. 95–116). Mexico: Secretaría de Desarrollo Social; Escobar, A. & M. González (2012). La calidad de la rendición de cuentas: transparencia y acceso efectivo al Programa Oportunidades y al Seguro Popular en México. Guadalajara: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social-Occidente; and Yaschine, I. (2012). ¿Oportunidades? Movilidad social intergeneracional e impacto en México. Doctoral Dissertation. Mexico: El Colegio de México.

  18. 18.

    Durand, J. (1998). ¿Nuevas regiones migratorias?, en R. Zenteno (ed.). Población, desarrollo y globalización: V Reunión de Investigación Sociodemográfica en México (vol. 2, pp. 101–115). Mexico: Sociedad Mexicana de Demografía/El Colegio de la Frontera Norte; Zenteno, R. (2008). Pobreza, marginación y migración mexicana a Estados Unidos. In: A. Escobar (ed.). Pobreza y migración internacional (pp. 85–130). Mexico: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social; and Banegas, I. (2012). Migración, pobreza y políticas públicas: reporte de investigación, encuesta en zonas de atención prioritaria, Guadalajara: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social-Occidente.

  19. 19.

    Escobar, A. & M. González (2012). La calidad de la rendición de cuentas: transparencia y acceso efectivo al Programa Oportunidades y al Seguro Popular en México. Guadalajara: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social-Occidente.

  20. 20.

    The Constitution establishes that every individual has the right to an education. Nevertheless, regulation and procedures limit this right in various ways, as described in this chapter.

  21. 21.

    Escobar, A. (ed.) (2008). Pobreza y migración internacional. Mexico: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social.

  22. 22.

    See: González, M. (2009). La vida después de Oportunidades: impacto del programa a diez años de su creación. In: A diez años de intervención. Evaluación externa del Programa Oportunidades 2008 en zonas rurales (1997–2007). Tomo I: Efectos de Oportunidades en áreas rurales a diez años de intervención (pp. 125–145). Mexico: Secretaría de Desarrollo Social; Escobar, A. & M. González (2005). Evaluación cualitativa de mediano plazo del Programa Oportunidades en zonas rurales. In: B. Hernández y M. Hernández (eds.). Evaluación externa de impacto del Programa Oportunidades 2003. Mexico: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social/Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública; Escobar, A. & M. González (2005). Evaluación cualitativa del Programa Oportunidades en zonas urbanas 2003. In: B. Hernández & M. Hernández (eds.). Evaluación externa de impacto del Programa Oportunidades 2003. Mexico: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social/Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública; Escobar, A. & M. González (2003). Evaluación cualitativa del Programa Oportunidades. Etapa urbana, 2003, <http://www.oportunidades.gob.mx:8010/index.php>; Escobar, A. & M. González (2002). Evaluación cualitativa del Programa de Desarrollo Humano Oportunidades. Seguimiento de impacto 2001–2002, comunidades de 2500 a 50 000 habitantes. Evaluación de resultados de impacto del Programa de Desarrollo Humano Oportunidades, <http://www.oportunidades.gob.mx:8010/index.php>; Escobar, A. y M. González (2001). Primeros resultados de la Evaluación cualitativa basal del Programa de Educación, Salud y Alimentación (Progresa) semiurbano. Septiembre-diciembre, Guadalajara, <http://www.oportunidades.gob.mx:8010/index.php>; and Escobar, A. (2000). Progresa y el bienestar de las familias. Los hallazgos. In: A. Escobar & M. González (comps.). Evaluación de resultados del Programa de Educación, Salud y Alimentación. Impacto a nivel comunitario (pp. 3–31). Mexico: Secretaría de Desarrollo Social. These evaluations can be consulted at: https://evaluacion.prospera.gob.mx

  23. 23.

    Seguro Popular was created as a pilot program in 2002 and was later established formally (as Sistema de Protección Social en Salud) with the 2003 reform to the Law of Health, which established an annual growth in affiliation of 14.3% from 2004 to 2010. Seguro Popular represents the most ambitious effort expanding the coverage of basic health protection since the national health system was created in 1943. By the end of 2011, it had almost reached its coverage goal. See, Aguilera, N. & M. Quintana. (2012). Seguro Popular: Evaluación de consistencia y resultados 2011–2012. Informe final, <http://portal.salud.gob.mx/codigos/columnas/evaluacion_programas/pdf/ECR1112_SPSS_IFx112x.pdf>.

  24. 24.

    Levy, S. (2008). Good Intentions, Bad Outcomes: Social Policy, Informality, and Economic Growth in Mexico. New York: Brookings Institution Press.

  25. 25.

    Taylor, E. J. (1999). The New Economics of Labour Migration and the Role of Remittances in the Migration Process. International Migration, 37(1), 63–88, <doi:10.1111/1468-2435.00066>.

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Banegas, I., Teruel, G., Latapí, A.E. (2022). Mexican Social Programs, Departures and Return Migration. 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_7

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