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Migration and Economy: The Focus of Mexico and the U.S. in 2024

By: Dr. Alejandro Díaz-Bautista, Economist, Professor, and Researcher (PhD).

In 2024, one of the most important focal points in the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the United States is migration and the economy. The Mexico-U.S. border is a central issue for both Biden and Trump in 2024, along with other priorities such as reviewing bilateral trade, binational security, and economic relations between Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

Migration can bring substantial benefits to advanced economies like the United States, in terms of higher per capita GDP and improved living standards. Biden and Trump visited the Mexico-U.S. border as it became a central theme in the electoral campaign. It is estimated that over 2.4 million migrants crossed the southern U.S. border in 2023 alone.

Trump continues with his hardline anti-immigration stance that was fundamental to his presidency, promising the largest deportation program ever if he returns to the White House in 2025.

President Biden’s trip to the border in Brownsville aims to showcase how his border measures are working, especially in an area where encounters with immigrants decreased by nearly a quarter in January 2024.

While the migration crisis has dominated discussions at the 2024 Governors’ Meeting at the White House, the National Governors Association of the United States holds an annual meeting to address issues affecting their states and other current topics. Immigration, which has been in the background for years, took center stage in 2024.

Immigration to the United States is the primary topic of their conversations. It is currently the top issue in the minds of Americans, followed by the economy.

Governors from across the country, regardless of their proximity to the southern U.S. border, are witnessing the arrival of migrants, partly due to Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas sending them by bus to cities with a Democratic majority without prior notice.

While President Joe Biden has acknowledged the challenges they face in 2024, he urged governors to increase pressure on lawmakers to pass what he described as the “strongest border agreement in history.”

The president’s intent to take executive action comes after Senate Republicans blocked a bipartisan border agreement in early February 2024, which included comprehensive measures, including the authority to close the border between the United States and Mexico.

Finally, a study by the International Monetary Fund shows that, in the long term, both skilled and unskilled workers who migrate contribute benefits to the countries that host them, increasing per capita income and improving living standards in receiving economies. A 1 percentage point increase in the percentage of immigrants in the adult population raises the GDP per person of advanced economies by up to 2% over time. This improvement is mainly attributable to increased labor productivity.

Dr. Alejandro Díaz Bautista, International Economist and Research Professor in International Economics at El Colef. Visiting Fellow and Guest Scholar at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies based at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS).

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