While Americans panic about how to curtail Mexican immigration into their country, recent data shows that U.S. citizens have no reservations about leaving their homes and moving south of the border.
As of 2010, net immigration from Mexico to the United States reached zero. That, of course, does not mean that no Mexicans are emigrating north. It means that the same number, or even more Mexicans left the U.S. in that time than came in.
In fact, data shows, from 2005 to 2010, 1.4 million Mexicans moved to the United States while approximately the same number who were already living in the U.S. pulled up stakes and went home.
But the rate of Americans permanently relocating to Mexico just keeps rising, according to government statistics cited by the New York Times.
There are now about 70,000 Americans living legally in Mexico. That figure does not include the American children of Mexican parents who returned home, taking their kids with them.
“There’s been an opening to the world in every way — culturally, socially and economically,” said Ernesto Rodríguez Chávez, a former migration policy official with Mexico’s Interior Ministry.
The American immigrants say that Mexico offers not only economic opportunities that have been diminishing in the United States, but a spirt of openness and creativity also dying out in their native land.
“There is this energy here, this feeling that anything can happen,” California native Lesley Téllez, told the Times. “It’s hard to find that in the U.S.”
Last year, Mexico passed legislation streamlining the immigration process. Since last November, the country has seen a 10 percent jump in new residency requests —not only from Americans but from Europeans and Asians as well.
American retirees also make up a portion of the immigrant population in Mexico, with Canadian retirees joining them in resort areas such as Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, according to the Times.
Sources: New York Times, Georgetown Public Policy Review, Open Knowledge