Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has built his campaign around the “problem” of illegal immigration from Mexico. However, a Pew Research Analysis released on November 19th, revealed that more Mexicans are leaving the United States than the number coming in.
In the years from 2009 to 2014, the Pew researchers estimated that 140,000 more Mexican nationals left the United States than the number who entered. The total Mexican immigrant population in the United States peaked in 2007, at 12. 8 million, and it has dwindled to 11.7 million in 2014.
Although the Paris attacks have shifted much of America’s xenophobic focus to fearing foreign Muslim immigrants from Syria, bashing undocumented Mexicans has also been a cornerstone of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Many other Republican candidates, including retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Texas Senator Ted Cruz have followed Trump’s lead in ginning up anti-immigrant hysteria.
The problem, of course, is that GOP hysteria is built on a foundation of lies that implies or asserts outright that illegal crossings across our Southern border are an increasing threat to our nation’s security. Not only is their reasoning flawed, but the numbers also don’t add up. There is no surge in illegal immigration from Mexico, instead there is a slow, but steady outflow, with more Mexican nationals departing than entering.
The net outflow appears to be due to a combination of factors including stricter U.S. immigration enforcement and the negative impact of the economic recession that began in 2008. However, the inflow had already been on the decline, even prior to the U.S. financial crash in 2008.
The Trump-led GOP war on illegal immigration may be ideologically powerful politics in winning over Republican voters, but it is ideology based on a false premise. There is no Mexican invasion of undocumented immigrants pouring into the country. Unfortunately, the press rarely mentions that, and so the lie persists in U.S. political discourse.