Monday, July 21, 2008

Another Nativist Myth Bites the Dust: Gallup Poll Indicates Most Mexicans Do Not Want to Emigrate to U.S.

Nativist Groups would have you believe that the U.S. Border is teeming with Mexicans waiting to cross over to the United States. Not so, says the highly respected Gallup Organization. The poll indicates that the overwhelming majority of Mexicans have no desire to emigrate, much less emigrate permanently to the U.S. The recently conducted Gallup poll found that when asked, "Ideally, given the opportunity, would you like to move permanently to another country, or would you prefer to continue living in this country?" only 21% of Mexicans responded affirmatively. Of this percentage only 46% indicated that they would like to emigrate to the United States. (The majority indicated a preference for Spain.) Given the cross-border familial ties between Mexico and the U.S., this is a remarkably small amount of Mexicans indicating a desire to emigrate to their northern neighbor.

What the poll really underlies is the complexity of the immigration issue. Contrary to the rants of Lou Dobbs and his ilk, the issues attendant to emigration and immigration between the United States and Mexico are considerably more nuanced than their simplistic sloganeering would have one believe. Almost every aspect of the immigration issue, from assimilation to the factors driving immigration, are riven by a set of complex factors that defy irreducibility to simple-minded solutions such as the much vaunted border fence. Until we move past the simpleton rhetoric of cable-news screamers, we will continue to fail to comprehend the complexities of this issue.

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