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Pew Survey: 34 Percent of Mexicans Would Come to US

Image: Pew Survey: 34 Percent of Mexicans Would Come to US Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto addresses members of the California Legislature on Aug. 26 as Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Gov. Jerry Brown listen. (Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee/MCT/Landov)

By Elliot Jager   |   Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 07:02 AM

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's agenda of economic reform is unpopular with six out of 10 citizens, a survey by Pew Research reveals. The results come as Peña Nieto wraps up a two-day visit to the United States, having declared America to be "the other Mexico," according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Thirty-four percent of Mexicans would come to the United States if they could – 17 percent would come whether legally or not, according to Pew. Almost one-third of Mexicans have friends or relatives in the United States with whom they are in regular contact. This figure is down 10 points since 2007.

Fewer Mexicans believe a better life awaits them in the U.S.— 51 percent in 2007 as opposed to 44 percent in the current survey — though 51 percent of those 18 to 29 look toward the United States as a land of opportunity, Pew reported.

The survey also found that 67 percent of the population polled is dissatisfied with the direction of their country. Of the problems plaguing Mexico, crime tops the list with 79 percent saying it is a "very big problem." Political corruption (72 percent), drug cartel violence (72 percent), corrupt police (63 percent), and healthcare (54 percent) also worry large numbers of Mexicans, Pew reported.

While 57 percent think the national government is an influence for good, Peña Nieto's own "unfavorable" rating stands at 51 percent. Reversing decades of policy, he has allowed foreign investment in the country's oil and gas industry – a move many see as undermining national pride, Pew reported.

In welcoming the Mexican president, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown told a Hispanic audience that they were all welcome in California regardless of their legal status. Latinos comprise 19.2 percent of the state's voters, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, Breitbart News reports 33.7 million people of Mexican ancestry lived in the United States in 2012, including 11.4 million who were born in Mexico. Mexicans accounted for 64 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2012 and approximately 28 percent of all foreign-born residents.

The Pew poll was conducted between April 21 and May 2 and has a margin for error of 4 percentage points.

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