These movements are very hard to detect, certainly on anything close to a real-time basis. Still, research published by the Mexican Migration Monitor indicates an increase in northward traffic, perhaps the result of a greater demand for Mexican labor. The findings are from the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute in Los Angeles and El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana. Meanwhile,the outbound flow of migrants voluntarily returning to Mexico is decreasing. During the recession, the movement was more southward. From the paper by Roberto Suro & Rene Zenteno (h/t KPCC):
The stock of the Mexican-born population in the United States has stabilized at about the same very high level--some 11.7 million people--that it had reached before the recession, according to several indicators studied for this report. The available data for migration trends in 2012 suggest that the size of that population might show a small increase across the entire year unless the U.S. economy flattens or declines in the third and fourth quarters. However, there is no reason to believe that flows will surge and that population growth will accelerate again as it did during the 1990s, when structural factors in the United States and Mexico generated a new era of massive migration, or as in the mid-2000s, when the housing bubble temporarily inflated demand for Mexican construction workers.
Overall, the mechanisms that could produce increased Mexican migration again in response to heightened demand in the U.S. labor market are largely intact despite several years of enforcement efforts designed to stymie them. The size of the Mexican migrant population has not shrunken in the face of more than three years of national U.S. unemployment rates of 8 percent or higher, a record-breaking federal deportation campaign, and the enactment of laws by various state and local governments designed to produce "attrition through enforcement." Instead, the migration flows may well be passing beyond the much-heralded "net-zero" point at which the numbers of people arriving and leaving balanced each other out in the wake of the recession.