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09/24/2013 05:35 pm ET

The Mind-Blowing Fact About Immigration No One Mentions

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With all the hype about border security, it's easy to overlook obvious facts about immigration. Here’s one that should receive more attention when discussing whether it’s necessary and practical to triple the size of the Border Patrol and build a double-layer fence across the entire U.S.-Mexico border.

More Americans have moved to Mexico in recent years than vice versa, according to government data cited in a New York Times feature by Damien Cave published over the weekend.

The data shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Pew Hispanic Trends Project estimated last year that the flow of migrants from Mexico peaked in 2007 at about 12.6 million and then began to decline slightly. A report issued by Pew on Monday noted that the population of undocumented immigrants from Mexico similarly declined from a 2007 peak of 6.9 million, to about 6 million today.

Not so for Americans, many of whom look to Mexico as a cheap place to retire or a hospitable location to start a new business. According to the Times:

Americans now make up more than three-quarters of Mexico’s roughly one million documented foreigners, up from around two-thirds in 2000, leading to a historic milestone: more Americans have been added to the population of Mexico over the past few years than Mexicans have been added to the population of the United States, according to government data in both nations.

While Americans are moving to Mexico at a more rapid rate than Mexicans are moving to the United States, people of Mexican birth in the United States still far outnumber Americans living in Mexico. Nearly 12 million people born in Mexico lived in the United States as of 2011, according to Pew -- roughly one in three immigrants in America.

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