Mexicans Tell Lady Liberty:
George Will once wrote that the best measure of a country is whether the door swings in or swings out. He was crystallizing the idea that a country can be judged on how badly people want to leave or enter.
For almost the entire history of the U.S., we have been blessed with a steady flow of immigrants, the largest wave of which has been from Mexico. One in ten Mexicans live in the United States… so can they still be called Mexicans?
The Mexican population in the U.S. – just the Mexicans – is larger than the entire immigrant population in any other country in the world.
All of which is to say, a lot of Mexicans are in the U.S., and roughly seven million of them are here illegally. This fact has caused a great deal of consternation for many people. Well, now they can rest a little easier because, according to the Pew Center, more Mexicans went home than entered the U.S. over the past five years.
For the first time in four decades, the U.S. had a net outflow of Mexicans. This was not because of our tougher enforcement of border and immigration law… or even better technology with which to track the status of workers. It’s because we don’t look so good anymore.
When relationships fail, often the person leaving will say, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Of course, everyone knows to reply, “And I don’t like you as much anymore.” This is kind of where the U.S. and Mexico stand today.
As the U.S. went through various economic phases over the last forty years there was a steady rise in wealth and spending. Sure we had recessions, boom times and periods of moderation, but overall there was a rise in standards of living that can be traced back to the boomers spending on their kids and the development of the two-income family.
People had money to spend and a reason to spend it. This wasn’t just on cell phones and iPads. This spending was on larger homes, eating out and fancy cars. When you have all that stuff, it can be a bit overwhelming to maintain it. So you need a maid, someone to handle your lawn care, a person to wash your car, a group to build your dream home and so on. This is where Mexican immigrants found opportunity.
The construction, service and agricultural industries in the U.S. were ripe for the picking, no pun intended. As we grew, we became an ever-more attractive destination. Hard-working immigrants could make their way North, earn great incomes and send money back home.
But a bad thing happened on the way to the ball recently. The attractive Lady Liberty lost some of her charm. She’s no longer as seductive as she used to be. The economic opportunities that existed in almost every town are now gone. With no jobs, why show up? With no jobs, why stay?
So now the motivated, hard-working, industrious members of the Mexican society that used to risk life and limb to brave the elements – both natural and manmade – just to work in the U.S. and live the American dream are staying home or even returning. Their prospects for work are better there.
I wonder if Americans will begin sneaking over the border into Mexico?
P.S. Instead of checking out the greener pastures in Mexico, look at the plan Harry and I have put together for you. It’s a quick and easy-to-follow manual on how to Prepare & Prosper in these times. Get the details here.