The last few months have seen more wild myths about immigrants circulated by politicians than at any time in recent memory. One of the most outlandish goes something like this; “The Mexican government forces many bad people into our country, because they’re smart. They’re smarter than our leaders.” When that claim of a conspiracy by the Mexican government to purposely send criminals to the U.S. was made last month, no evidence was offered to back it up. Fox News tried to source the claim last week and came up with nothing. Slate and Politifact looked into the conspiracy claim as well and found the same. Here is what Politifact found:
Is the Mexican government sending people across the border, rather than individuals making decisions on their own to leave in search of seek employment or to join family members in the United States? When we talked to a range of immigration experts, we found wide agreement that that there is no evidence to support [this] claim.
For evidence, we started with the Mexican Migration Project, a bi-national research effort founded in 1982 to study Mexican migration to the United States. Anthropologists, sociologists and other experts with the project gather data, including field interviews with migrants, that illuminate migration patterns.
The co-director of the project is Douglas Massey, a professor of sociology and public policy at Princeton University. Based on more than three decades of field research, Massey found [the] assertion to be flat wrong.
He pointed to findings from a paper he published in 2014 in the journal International Migration Review. In the paper, he and his co-authors concluded that undocumented migration from Mexico “was driven largely by U.S. labor demand and by the existence of well-developed migrant networks that provided migrants with access to U.S. labor markets despite a rising enforcement effort. The taking of additional trips is likewise tied to U.S. labor demand and access to migrant networks, as well as the number of U.S. trips a migrant has accumulated over his or her career.”
What about Mexican government efforts to push migrants into the United States? Nonexistent, Massey told PolitiFact.
“Mexico has never had a policy of pushing migrants toward the United States, much less ‘forcing many bad people into our country,’ ” Massey said. “Mexican migration is tied to social and economic circumstances on both sides of the border.”
Other experts sided with Massey.
“Immigrants come to work or to join family,” said Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer with the Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project. “And no, the Mexican government doesn’t force anyone to leave.”
In conclusion, Politifact said; “we found no evidence of any Mexican policy that pushes people out of Mexico and into the United States. As has been the case for decades, a combination of economic and family factors accounts for most of the migration from Mexico to the United States. For the second time, we rate this claim Pants on Fire.”
Slate was more succinct in its analysis, concluding of the alleged conspiracy; “this is ridiculous.”