Central American immigrants
Central American immigrants sit by the side of the road. Creative Common

Mexican immigration to the U.S. has been cut more than half since 2006, due to the economic collapse north of the border.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center’s analysis of Mexican government data, the number of Mexicans leaving for the U.S. has dropped from 1 million in 2006 to slightly above 400,000 last year.

But the movement of Mexicans in the U.S. back to Mexico has also diminished.

A study by the Rand Corp. unearthed that despite high unemployment in the U.S., especially in California, Mexicans are not necessarily returning to Mexico to any great degree.

Moreover, Mexico's assistant secretary of population, migration and religious affairs, René Zenteno Quintero, has told media that illegal immigration to the U.S has also dropped.

He said that in 2005 “about 500,000 Mexican nationals made their way into the U.S. illegally and within the last two years between 100,000 to 200,000 continued unauthorized crossings into the U.S.”

A blog on The World Bank’s Web site commented: "It seems that the U.S has become a less attractive place for Mexican migrants. Some of the factors that explain the decline of new immigrants include: the crisis that it is affecting job possibilities, increased border enforcement by the U.S., the anti-immigrant measures in some states (e.g., Arizona), and an increase in the number of criminal activity in the borders.”

The blogger added: “The impact of strongest border controls has reduced the circularity of Mexican migration. Before, Mexicans used to go back to Mexico and come back to the U.S. when there was demand for labor. With the new enforcement and criminal acts on the U.S.-Mexico border, there are lesser returns. Recent numbers from the U.S. Office of Immigration Statistics showed that Border Patrol apprehensions in 2010 were at their lowest level since 1972 and fewer people are trying to cross the south border. Although there are trying new entry points (e.g. by boat to California). “