Friday, May 15, 2009

Emigration from Mexico to US down by 25%

The New York Times today reports that census data from the Mexican government show a steep decline in emigration from Mexico to the US.

The recently released data show that about 226,000 fewer people emigrated from Mexico to other countries during the year that ended in August 2008 than during the previous year, a decline of 25 percent. All but a very small fraction of emigration, both legal and illegal, from Mexico is to the United States.
The article attributes the decline to the poor US job economy and lack of jobs for emigrants in the US. However, apparently there has not been a corresponding increase in the number of Mexicans returning to live in Mexico:
Still, at least 11 million illegal immigrants remain in the United States, the demographers say. Despite collapsing job markets in construction and other low-wage work, there has been no exodus among Mexicans living in the United States, the Mexican census figures show. About the same number of migrants — 450,000 — returned to Mexico in 2008 as in 2007.
Some commentators claim that the decrease is as a result of increased enforcement of immigration laws at the border and in the workplace. However, other sources in the article claim that enforcement is only a slight deterrent to Mexicans crossing illegally and that the poor job market is much more significant.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New US entry documents required from June 1, 2009

On June 1, 2009, the U.S. government will implement the full requirements of the land and sea phase of WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative). Everyone traveling by air must now have a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. The proposed rules require most US citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have a passport, passport card, or other travel document approved by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Those other documents include:
  • Trusted Traveler Cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST)
  • State Issued Enhanced Driver's License (when available)
  • Enhanced Tribal Cards (when available)
  • U.S. Military Identification with Military Travel Orders
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business
  • Native American Tribal Photo Identification Card
  • Form I-872 American Indian Card
US citizen children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of US citizenship such as a naturalization certificate or citizenship card.

The US passport card costs $45 and is valid for 10 years. It cannot be used for international air travel. Information on the card is here. DHS states that it has issued 1 million cards so far and is taking 4-6 weeks for approval.

More information on the WHTI and documentary requirements is available at the DHS website here and here and on the Customs and Border Protection website here.

Photo by Mohan S.