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Immigration | Mexico |

Mexico Background information Immigration Emigration Irregular Migration State Policies Challenges References


David Fitzgerald

/ 2 Minuten zu lesen

In 2000, there were 493,000 foreign-born residents of Mexico. The largest contingents of foreign-born are descendents of Mexican emigrants born in the United States and U.S. and Canadian retirees concentrated in places like the Pacific coasts of Baja California, Sonora and San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and the Lake Chapala area outside Guadalajara in the Central West.

These groups represent 63.2% of the foreign-born older than five years, followed by Europeans (11.9%), Central Americans (11.2%), South Americans (7.3%), Asians (2.9%), and others (1.0%). Half of the foreign-born are located in just five states: the Federal District, Baja California, Jalisco, Chihuahua, and the state of México. Immigrants tend to be highly educated. Nearly two thirds have a high school education or greater, compared to only a fifth of the Mexican population as a whole.


Political refugees have been a major source of flows to Mexico. The 1934-1940 administration of Lázaro Cárdenas welcomed 40,000 Republican exiles from the Spanish Civil War. Despite their small numbers, the descendents of these migrations and exiles from the 1970s 'dirty wars´ in the Southern Cone have had a disproportionately high impact on Mexican intellectual, cultural and professional life. In the 1980s, refugees from Central America began passing through Mexico in large numbers bound for the United States. About 80,000 Guatemalans sought refuge in Mexico from the Civil War. Many were housed in camps under the authority of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. About three quarters returned to Guatemala following the 1996 peace accords, and the rest were given the option to naturalize in Mexico.


Mexico is a major country of transit for unauthorized migration to the United States. It shares more than 1000 kilometers of border with Guatemala and Belize, much of it through rugged jungle or forested terrain in the poorest parts of Mexico.

Train routes leading north have been a popular and dangerous means of illicit migration, all the more since gangs have made a steady business of preying on migrants. Since the 1990s, the Mexican authorities have increased their presence along transportation routes in the frontier region even as the border itself remains largely unguarded. Authorities denied entry or deported 125,000 migrants in 1990, which rose to 250,000 by 2005. The primary source countries of transmigrants are Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Despite these efforts, and given widespread corruption among Mexican law enforcement, many migrants are able to cross Mexico from south to north. In fiscal year 2005, non-Mexicans made up approximately 14 percent of U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions, most of them made on the U.S. Mexico border. Smaller groups of migrants from China and Ecuador have been intercepted trying to reach Mexico by sea with the intention of then crossing over into the United States by land, though there are no reliable estimates of the numbers of seaborne entrants.

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