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Suppose Obama threw open the southern borders and nobody crossed

Oath of citizenship
Oath of citizenship
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

In the debate over immigration reform, the left’s mantra is “the Mexicans are coming! The Mexicans are coming!” Democrats keep warning Republicans of the danger of not playing identity politics, as they themselves have been doing like the perfect little toadies they are, advocating a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country. Not doing this, liberals warn, could cost the GOP big-time when Latinos become the national majority in the U.S in another 50 years.

But suppose that never happens. In fact there is strong evidence to suggest it might not. First, there is the 2012 report from the Pew Hispanic Center, which notes that between 2005 and 2010 some 1.4 million people moved from the United States to Mexico. Much of this reverse migration reflects a lack of job opportunities on the U.S. side of the border. Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, noticed this trend as early as 2009, reporting “a slowdown of people coming from Mexico and a big increase in people leaving.”

If Mexicans need further impetus to return home, it can be found in the economic boom their country is currently enjoying, thanks mainly to a law passed by Mexico’s Congress last December that allows foreign oil exploration. Although there is opposition by those who insist the move compromises Mexico’s national interests, President Pena Nieto says the reform will help attract the investment needed to boost the country’s falling oil output.

A related issue is the decision to open up exploration of the nation’s 545 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas. Investment newsletter The Motley Fool notes that Eagle Ford, a shale formation that runs from southern Texas into Mexico, could lead to a fracking boom of unparalleled proportions.

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