Evolution of the Mexico-U.S. Migration System: Insights from the Mexican Migration Project

Jorge Durand, Douglas S. Massey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Since 1987, the Mexican Migration Project (MMP) has collected and disseminated representative survey data on documented and undocumented migration to the United States. The MMP currently includes surveys of 161 communities, which together contain data on 27,113 households and 169,945 individuals, 26,446 of whom have U.S. migratory experience. These data are used here to trace the evolution of the Mexico-U.S. migration system from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first century, revealing how shifts in U.S. immigration and border policies have been critical to the formation of different eras of migration characterized by distinctive patterns of migration, settlement, and return in different legal statuses. The current era is characterized by the repression of the large population of undocumented migrants and their U.S. citizen children by an ongoing regime of mass detention and deportation and the simultaneous recruitment of Mexican workers for exploitation on short-term temporary visas. As the dynamics of Mexican migration to the United States continue to change, they will be monitored and analyzed in subsequent waves of data collection by the MMP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-42
Number of pages22
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


  • Mexican Migration Project
  • border enforcement
  • deportations
  • immigration policy
  • migration
  • undocumented migration


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