Why do Mexicans illegally cross the US-Mexican border?

Like most modern Americans (unless you are a Native American), they leave their home country for economic, religious or political reasons. In the case of Mexicans (and nowadays, more and more Central Americans), they are attracted to the "American dream": while, on average, a U.S. worker earns a wage of US$58,714, the average Mexican worker earns only US$14,867.


In addition, many of them flee their home countries due to increasing drug violence in Mexico and the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras). For example, while the United States has a murder rate of 3.9 homicides per 100,000 people, the Mexican state of Guerrero has a murder rate of 67; El Salvador has a rate of 64, and Honduras has a rate of 84 (highest in the world).

Most illegal immigrants are people with little or no education; most of them are former farm laborers who do not earn enough to support their families and are forced to look for alternatives. As the process of immigration and naturalization into the U.S. would disqualify them, many opted to enter the country illegally.

Nowadays, due to stricter border controls and a general improvement of the Mexican economy, the immigration process has begun to reverse: the net migration rate between 2009 and 2014 is 140,000 people leaving the country for Mexico; most illegal immigrants that enter U.S. soil today are Central Americans, and even an increasing number of them apply for asylum in Mexico.


Mexico Push Factors:

  • Few opportunities
  • Poor medical care
  • Loss of wealth
  • Poor housing
  • Discrimination


Pull Factors of the United States:

  • Job opportunities
  • Better living conditions
  • Education
  • Better medical care
  • Security
  • Family links


Like most modern Americans (unless you are a Native American), they leave their home country for economic, religious or political reasons. In the case of Mexicans (and nowadays, more and more Central Americans), they are attracted to the "American dream": while, on average, a U.S. worker earns a wage of US$58,714, the average Mexican worker earns only US$14,867.

In addition, many of them flee their home countries due to increasing drug violence in Mexico and the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras). For example, while the United States has a murder rate of 3.9 homicides per 100,000 people, the Mexican state of Guerrero has a murder rate of 67; El Salvador has a rate of 64, and Honduras has a rate of 84 (highest in the world).

Most illegal immigrants are people with little or no education; most of them are former farm laborers who do not earn enough to support their families and are forced to look for alternatives. As the process of immigration and naturalization into the U.S. would disqualify them, many opted to enter the country illegally.

Nowadays, due to stricter border controls and a general improvement of the Mexican economy, the immigration process has begun to reverse: the net migration rate between 2009 and 2014 is 140,000 people leaving the country for Mexico; most illegal immigrants that enter U.S. soil today are Central Americans, and even an increasing number of them apply for asylum in Mexico.

Mexico Push Factors:

  • Few opportunities
  • Poor medical care
  • Loss of wealth
  • Poor housing
  • Discrimination

Pull Factors of the United States:

  • Job opportunities
  • Better living conditions
  • Education
  • Better medical care
  • Security
  • Family links