Mexican-American Migration: Stop Calling It a Push

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A Border Patrol agent monitors an area of ​​the US-Mexico border. Photo by Adriana Heldiz

When many people attempt to cross the US-Mexico border, it attracts a lot of attention. The current migration from Central America to the United States is one of the biggest national stories right now.

Tom Wanga UC San Diego professor and director of the US Immigration Policy Center, is at pains to explain what’s really going on, especially now that it’s commonly referred to as a “push”.

It’s the migration data from season to season, Wong says, that is most telling. In this bonus episode of the VOSD podcast, Wong explains the current surge in migration that’s happening right now and how it fits into long-standing patterns.

Think of it like Christmas at Target, he says.

It is almost certain that sales will increase in December due to the holiday rush. But if you compare this Christmas at last Christmas is where you will get the really useful information. Are sales really higher between significantly comparable periods? Wong says it’s the same idea for migration data. And right now it’s migration season; we can expect monthly increases through May.

Weather changes are a factor to help predict when migration will take place, for example. Hot summer months discourage travel. The warm spring weather encourages it.

Wong and VOSD host Andrew Keatts discuss data, how it’s captured, how pent-up demand from the 2020 pandemic is catching up with us, and what the Biden administration is facing.

Follow VOSD border coverage and updates from the bi-national region with The Border Report.

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