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Archive for Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mexican migrants struggle to send money home

July 31, 2008

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A man peeks through the border fence to the U.S. from Tijuana, Mexico, in this February 2008 file photo. Remittances sent home by Mexicans working abroad have fallen for six straight months, threatening local businesses and choking off what used to be a strong cash flow for many Mexican families.

A man peeks through the border fence to the U.S. from Tijuana, Mexico, in this February 2008 file photo. Remittances sent home by Mexicans working abroad have fallen for six straight months, threatening local businesses and choking off what used to be a strong cash flow for many Mexican families.

— Mexicans working in other countries are sending less money home, threatening businesses, stalling construction and choking cash flow to hamlets where as much as half the population works in the United States.

Analysts said stepped-up immigration raids and the slowdown in the U.S. economy accounted for the drop in the payments, which many migrants use to sustain families back home.

The payments, or remittances, have fallen about 2 percent this year to $11.6 billion, the first such drop in more than a decade since reliable records have been kept, Mexico's Central Bank said Wednesday.

And the buying power of this money has been battered by the weakening U.S. dollar, which has lost about 8 percent of its value against the Mexican peso so far this year.

'No money anymore'

In Mexico, businesses that once thrived selling everything from beds to bricks to the families of migrants have laid off workers. In this town of verdant fields beneath the snow-clad slopes of the Iztaccihuatl volcano, there's little left to rely on but small farms.

"There's no money anymore," Carlos Escalona said of his family's business, which sells concrete blocks and bricks to help people build houses with the money migrants send home. Sales have fallen by a third, forcing the business to lay off 70 percent of the staff.

Of migrant workers in the U.S., Escalona said, "They lose their jobs, and then they're afraid to leave the house. It's like they're trapped."

Bank of Mexico President Guillermo Ortiz said about 22 percent of Mexican workers in the U.S. have jobs in construction, an industry that has slowed sharply.

About 152,000 Mexican immigrant workers lost U.S. construction jobs in 2007, while overall unemployment for Mexican immigrants in the U.S. rose from 5.5 percent to 8.4 percent over the year, according to a June report by the Pew Research Center.

More migrants rounded up by U.S. immigration officials are being sent home penniless.

Others have decided to return for good, bringing as many household items as they can along with them and eliminating the need to buy much locally.

Small-town trouble

In Atotonilco, migrant families once had enough money for %50 chests of drawers or $100 beds at Yesica Ordonez's furniture store, Muebleria El Rosal.

Now the few customers who do appear spend remittances on necessities, she said. "It's been about two years since things were good."

Ortiz said remittances will probably drop 2 percent to 3 percent for the full year, the first sustained drop since 1995, when the bank began keeping a tally. In small towns, about one in eight families gets money from workers in other countries, the government estimates.

The payments have become a key source of foreign currency for the bank, representing Mexico's second-largest source of outside income, after oil exports. It represents less than 3 percent of Mexico's gross domestic product.

In the first part of the decade, the recorded payments grew rapidly - from $9 billion in 2001 to almost $24 billion in 2007 - because of swelling immigration and better reporting methods.

The number of Mexicans crossing the border rose to an average of 400,000 a year between 2000 and 2004, more than 10 times the migrant flow of a generation ago. About three-quarters were undocumented, according to Mexico's Population Council.

Comments

TopJayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

Bozo, are you admitting that until recently our ecomomy was in pretty good shape? You know...supporting two countries?

ksdivakat 6 years, 4 months ago

Heres another idea....why not stop spending all that money on fences to keep the illegals out and if they want to come into the US them let them. However, in order to be able to live and work here, first they must serve in the US armed forces in some capacity for x amount of time. Once discharged from the military with honorable discharge, then they have earned their way and their right to work and or live in the US without fear of deportation. Not only would this help the illegals out and stop that wasteful spending of some huge fence, but it would help build up our already weakened military...everyone wins!!!

weatherguy48 6 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, considering it costs @3.75 for 1 $ of gashahaha this is getting cheesy

TopJayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

It would be easier for them to take that money home if they did it personally.

Bruce Rist 6 years, 4 months ago

Bozo If you wanted to move to Canada, would you sneak in or go through the proper channels to get legal citizenship?

jaywalker 6 years, 4 months ago

No thanks, diva. I've sold out enough!

Satirical 6 years, 4 months ago

You mean people that are here illegally are forced to spend some of their money here and pay sales taxes, thus paying for a fraction of the government services from which they benefit ? How horrible! I won't stand for people being forced to "follow the laws," and "pay taxes."

weatherguy48 6 years, 4 months ago

I wish I could afford a %50 chest of drawers. I only have #20 :(

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

Come back legally and get a legal job. The wages will be better.

Bruce Rist 6 years, 4 months ago

I disagree. I think you would get legal citzenship however you could because you are an up standing guy

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

The day Canada and Mexico give up control of their borders, we should consider doing the same thing.

jaywalker 6 years, 4 months ago

Nearly that entire article is an absolute joke. The numbers provided are ridiculous! 152,000 lost their jobs in home construction? Yeah, in Atlanta alone! And gee, I wonder what effect such a practice has on our economy; invade, don't pay taxes, live 10 to an apartment, and send half your earnings OUT of the country. Swell.You can't blame Mexicans for wanting a job, better life, heck, just a little hope. The blame goes to our ineffective, do-nothing-sit-on-their-thumb 'leaders' in D.C.More than 1/3 of California's prison population are illegals.There's been a mini baby boom in the illegal community because they've been offered a 'baby born here' loophole.And still our 'leaders' do nothing. I'm all for immigration. Legally. We need the influx of younger workers to balance an aging population. But Washington's inactivity on the matter is irresponsible, reprehensible, and downright criminal. Millions have lost their jobs or businesses (myself included) due to the housing industry collapse, which collapsed due to overbuild, which NEVER happens without the invasion.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 4 months ago

Atotonilco, Mexico - Mexicans working in other countries are sending less money home, threatening businesses, stalling construction and choking cash flowto hamlets where as much as half the population works in the United States.---waaah! later in the article it indicates that this is due to a 2% drop! heck, that's just a good start! tax the remittances, at 40%! marion, you are right, there should be requirements for documentation of legal status/identity before money can be sent. and yes, this is sucking a lot of money outa our economy. build the fence, compared to this, plus the 20%-30% prison costs; overtaxed schools; overtaxed and closing hospital e.r.'s; slumping wages as in construction * (cited in the article)-slumping because of the glut of cheap labor of illegals. that's a lot of cost! I have noted for some time that the ljworld editorial staff betrays a pro-illegal-alien bias. inclusion of this sappy silly stupid attempt at a sob story of how hard the illegals' families and cohort have it back in dusty mexico, betrays this bias! c'mon ljworld, have a little more compassion for legal americans. the influx/invasion of these workers pushes down wages and employment of legal immigrants; hispanics; and many blacks! they are overrepresented in jail and prison populations. and, since the current iraq war began, something on the order of ten times as many americans have been killed by illegals than have died in iraq! stop your fake, misplaced, compassion!

TopJayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

Yes, this is all a bunch of crap by the LJW.. It reminds me of the poor illegal who couldn't feed his family that was featured a few yrs ago in the KC Star. WAAA WAAAA. They showed a picture of him holding his infant daughter in his living room. And in the background was at least a fifty inch flat screen hanging on the wall. Now this was at least two yrs ago. What do you suppose that T.V. went for then? I bet enough to buy a lot of Baby food.And he had the nerve to ask for handouts!! ---He should have been deported (flat screen and all) immediately

TopJayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

SloMo. You are sliding down a slippery slope called Moral relativism.. Very dangerous. And tell your professsor that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

The military already accepts foreign-born cannon fodder.

storm 6 years, 4 months ago

Thank you for the article. Unfortunately, some people read Mexican and automatically think illegal. Go figure. An article about Somalis (also hard-working) here in Kansas may help bring perspective.

Bossa_Nova 6 years, 4 months ago

weatherguy48 (Anonymous) says: I wish I could afford a %50 chest of drawers. I only have #20:(hey weather guy, sorry to hear you only have #20. you prolly could buy that %50 chest of drawers if the price of fuel wasnt &3.75 per gallon however. let's hope they give us another }600 stimulus check and then maybe you can go out and buy yourself that nice fu@#$ing %50 piece of furniture sorry, dude, i thought it was funny

TopJayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

One more thing, it is called "reqonquista" (sp) and that is what it is all about. They want to reclaim the southwest for themselves. They already got California, and Arizona. How many electorial votes is that? You figure it out.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

"Does that somehow make it ok to break our laws?"It was illegal for slaves to escape from their masters. Was it wrong for them to attempt to escape?As much as you want to make this merely a matter of choice, most of these migrants have little more choice in their lives than the slaves of 150 years ago (or even 60 years ago in the southern US prison and jail systems that were little more than defacto systems of overt slavery.)

jaywalker 6 years, 4 months ago

Exactly, jonas.And slomo, your empathy for our neighbors plight is well founded. And I know first hand how dedicated and hard working the majority are. But I know of no country that allows the unchecked flow of non-citizens to invade and roost. I'd hate to have to trade places with any of them because there's a good chance I'd break the law just like them. But it is a law, or it's supposed to be, and there are good reasons for it. I'm all for immigration to and for our country, but it is 'our' country, and citizens pay taxes to support our government and social programs. Illegals do not and in fact bankrupt social programs. Hospitals in California are going bankrupt for crying out loud! How the hell does that happen?Yes, they are human beings, but so are me and mine, and since I've recently lost my business due to this unchecked invasion I'm more than a little tired of our governments lack of action on the subject. Are illegals completely to blame? No, but they are not free from culpability. And it's not our fault they're flooding across the border as your last post implies. But it's our fault it hasn't been stopped.

jaywalker 6 years, 4 months ago

divakat,That is not a bad idea! I would also like to make it mandatory that they obtain a high school diploma or GED, we definitely need workers but not a new uneducated lower class.

guesswho 6 years, 4 months ago

First, let me be clear - I am not for undocumented immigration.However, we need to look at US policies that are indirectly promoting Mexicans (and others) to come to this country. For one thing, we pressured the Mexican government to end their corn subsidies to Mexican farmers (so US farmers could sell corn to Mexico) and we subsidize our corn farmers. However, this had the unintended consequence of putting thousands and thousands of Mexican farmers out of work, forcing them to migrate to cities and the US to help support their families.

jaketh 6 years, 4 months ago

Here's a story from CNN which gives a picture from the other side. "Commentary: Killing of immigrant a senseless, barbaric act"http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/31/navarrette.fatalbeating/index.html

SloMo 6 years, 4 months ago

"Does that somehow make it ok to break our laws?""It was illegal for slaves to escape from their masters. Was it wrong for them to attempt to escape?""That was a tragic Law that was righted by half of the American people at a great loss of life, this is a law that needs to be enforced. Your Job depends on it:. if you have one."Maybe if the American (U.S.) people would work to right some other tragic laws, such as the patenting of food crops, NAFTA, and the like, then we could start to fix the problem of people coming here illegally because they can no longer live in their own countries. Do you think that most of these people really want to break U.S. laws? But if it's between that and starving to death, then they have to. Maybe they're more like refugees than like slaves. Not that refugees and slaves are all that much different, in a lot of ways, when you get right down to it. Here's another example of people breaking the law out of desperation: our senior citizens (and others) who cross the borders into Canada or Mexico to buy their prescription drugs that they can't afford here. They're breaking the law when they bring the drugs back to the U.S., and they know they're taking a risk. Illegal, yes, but is it wrong for them to do this?This is what I mean that people don't always have a choice between "right" and "wrong", but sometimes only between two bad options.

jonas 6 years, 4 months ago

"We need the influx of younger workers to balance an aging population. But Washington's inactivity on the matter is irresponsible, reprehensible, and downright criminal."Why would they act, when they can just talk and still win votes? Kind of like abortion, once this issue starts to become resolved it can't be used for political gain. Well, maybe our children or grandchildren will have something to look forward to. If the growth rate of the Mexican economy doesn't die out, then by then their country should be improved enough that they don't need to come here.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

Given the abuse of the military/industrial complex by those who profit so greatly from it makes it very dangerous to offer citizenship in the US in exchange for serving as mercenaries. Until US militarism is brought under control, I'm very against having a program to populate the military with a bunch of desperate foreigners.

jaywalker 6 years, 4 months ago

"Jaywalker:Then you have military trained killers with duel citizenship - loyalty to Mexico/and or Mexican drug cartels - free to travel the U.S. and run back and forth to Mexico, all taking place with the full protection of our laws and our courts! Yeh, right - that's a damn good idea!"That's almost too ignorant to respond to, but I'm gonna give it a ..... No. It's too ignorant to respond to.

SloMo 6 years, 4 months ago

Is robbing a bank ever OK? It depends on what all of your other options are. I can conceive of circumstances that would make it OK. Very desperate, extreme circumstances - which are what many people south of the border are facing. Circumstances that I hope you and I never have to face. Circumstances partially created and certainly exacerbated by NAFTA, Montsanto's copyrighting of crops, and 500 years of various and sundry other US Governmental policies and actions.Many people the world over don't get to chose between the "right" and the "wrong" thing to do. They only get an array of bad options to chose from.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

If my situation were as dire as the situation of those who come here without documentation, and going to Canada offered a better chance, I would go however I needed to. And if the situations are really analogous, I would have zero chance of going to Canada "legally."

jaywalker 6 years, 4 months ago

"That's all we need is thousands of people, whose loyalties and sympathies are with Mexico and/or the Mexican drug cartel, allowed to recieve room. board and medical at U.S. taxpayer expense, plus good military pay, while we educate them to become world class killers with expertise in weapons and military tactics."Right, 'cuz we know all Mexicans are part of the drug cartels. Her idea was for those who want to become citizens of this country.

fallen_angel 6 years, 4 months ago

If mexicans want American jobs and American money, They should at least become Americans! They don't even speak English. When my granddaughter and grandson lived in El Paso they could not get a job because they did not speak fluent spanish. The entire school distric of Clint Texas gets free lunches as long as you like mandul(sp?) (also known as cow belly soup) or spicy mexican food. They are not loyal to America. What about the California school that flew the American flag upside down, below the Mexican flag. I think any one that hires an illegal should pay to deport them and thier entire family.And pay a stiff fine. I am also fumed about the idea they should be allowed to get free benifits without even paying taxes. We are running out of money that the American people paid in all their lives for Social Security and our future president (both canidates) want to make it possible for illegals to get it. They can get welfare and medical and anything else free a lot easier than an American. I feel like if you are an American, you are an AMERICAN not mexican American or asian American or African American. Just be proud to be an American. Your loyalties should lie with the United States. Send illegals back and the legals should be proud to be an American. Not a mexican U.S. Citizen.

SloMo 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm all for slaves being freed - but legally, by their owners! When they escape north, they're breaking the law and they know it. They're depriving the slave-owners of their property rights. They're flooding our northern cities with low-skilled, uneducated workers willing to work for low pay and taking jobs away from the rest of us.OK, OK, I know that every analogy breaks down at some point, but my point is that we're talking about human beings who are acting out of desperation to do what they need to stay alive and help their families.

fu7il3 6 years, 4 months ago

Honestly, I don't care if illegals are having economic troubles. We have enough to worry about with our citizens who are in the same boat.

Quigly 6 years, 4 months ago

This is my title for a good LJW crap article "American citizens struggle to make a decent living"

jaywalker 6 years, 4 months ago

"But it is a law, or it's supposed to be, and there are good reasons for it."Logicsound:'What are those good reasons again?And I'm talking about reasons why the freedom of goods markets is a championed ideal in this country, but the freedom of labor markets is criminal'The freedom of goods market is balanced with tariffs, excise taxes, and trade pacts with reciprocating countries.Freedom of labor markets? Can a U.S. citizen re-locate to Mexico without legal documentation and work there tax free?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

"Picking and choosing which laws to follow is also just silly."Do you really think that these undocumented immigrants "choose" to risk their lives and leave their homes and families to live in a country that is not only culturally foreign but downright hostile to them? They come here because they have no choices. Until staying home is a viable option for them, they will continue to come here, especially as long as the US economy is being sucked into the "globalized economy," AKA, the race to the bottom.

weatherguy48 6 years, 4 months ago

Sorry to hear that Marion. Races be damned, that would send me into a fury that wouldn't end until the perp was at my feet.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

logic, did you leave the word "illegal" out of your last sentence?

ksdivakat 6 years, 4 months ago

jaywalker....that is an awesome idea! That would allow them to have some education, and who knows maybe open the door to a higher education option to them! Its all about empowering people! Maybe we should run for office jaywalker!! LOL

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

The vast majority of immigrants don't rob banks. They come here and work. Equating that with bank robbery is just silly.

TopJayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

Marion,, if they find the scum, let me know, I will help you. And you are absolutely right.

fallen_angel 6 years, 4 months ago

If you go to the web site of Obama and McCain there is a place to contact them. PLEASE let them know how the American public feels about illegals. I am not a bigot and many of my friends are of various nationalities but they are Americans and proud of it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

Looks the vigilantes are in full-blown lynching mode-- probably anyone who looks kinda Mexican will satisfy their bloodlust.

SloMo 6 years, 4 months ago

"SloMo. You are sliding down a slippery slope called Moral relativism.. Very dangerous. And tell your professsor that."And you are living in a neat little black-and-white world apart from reality. Very dangerous.Having a clear "right" and a clear "wrong" to chose from is a luxury that we don't always get. Many people the world over never get that luxury.

jaketh 6 years, 4 months ago

People who live in glass houses should not throw rocks!We, Americans are lazy period cause our prosperity has made us apathetic. We have lost of our competitive edge due to a mediocre education system. We are losing the world leadership because we think we are the center of the universe. A nation of immigrants is now becoming xenophobic. What an irony! For all of us who have Irish, Italian, Slavic, Jewish, German ancestry, our grandfathers or great grandfathers felt the same wrath for being immigrants back then. They worked hard, assimililated & found the American dream. So will the new bunch of immigrants... Greatest fear is fear itself.

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