Motorists wait in lanes of traffic at the U.S. border crossing in San Ysidro, California September 27, 2011.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 1:55 PM EDT

Mexican ‘illegals’ leaving U.S. in droves, study finds

Paul Koring

Mitt Romney’s vision of ‘self-deportation’ may be under way.

Mexican ‘illegals’ are headed home in huge numbers, according to a new study. Few issues incite uglier debate than whether America’s millions of illegal aliens – mostly Mexicans – should be rounded up and deported back to the Rio Grande.

‘Wetbacks Go Home’ isn’t the nastiest sentiment found on posters, car bumpers and signs. But it’s emblematic of the volatile mix of racism, duplicity, people-smuggling, stereotyping and the bitter economic realities that combine to fuel hostility.

Now, it seems, the problem may be solving itself. Mexicans are going home in droves, driven by pressure and lured by a better life.

Estimates of ‘illegals’ in the United States range as high as 15 million, although most suggest the number is closer to 10 million, most of them Mexicans. They toil picking fruit, cleaning houses, on construction sites, in meat-packing plants. Mostly, they take the jobs most Americans don’t want, even in hard times.

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