Poll: 40% of Mexicans want to move to U.S.
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Poll: 40% of Mexicans want to move to U.S.

USA TODAY | August 18, 2005

More than 40 percent of Mexican adults say they would move to the U.S. if they could, and 1 in 5 say they would do so illegally if necessary, according to surveys released yesterday by the Pew Hispanic Center.

Surveys of 1,200 Mexican adults in February and 1,200 in May, conducted in their homes, show that Mexicans' rising education levels have not weakened the desire to live and work in this country.

More than a third of Mexican college graduates say they would come to the U.S. if they could, and more than 1 in 8 would do so even if they had to enter the country illegally, according to the surveys, the first of their kind.

"Contrary to what people might expect, the inclination to migrate isn't contained among Mexicans who are poor or poorly educated or with limited economic prospects," says Roberto Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research group in Washington. "They're distributed across the whole breadth of Mexican society."

Mexicans' willingness to come is driven by a desire to improve their economic status and join friends and family already there, Suro says.

Despite improvements in the Mexican economy, "people with college degrees believe they have greater economic opportunities by migration to the U.S. - even illegally - than they would staying at home," Suro says. Mexicans are coming from richer, urban areas as well as poor, rural regions, he says.

More than half of Mexicans say they would be inclined to come if the U.S. established a temporary worker program.

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