Tags: Mexicans | Send | Record | $20B | South | the | Border

Mexicans Send Record $20B South of the Border

Monday, 18 April 2005 12:00 AM

The explosive increase in remittance money, officials have said, is a reflection of policies of President Vicente Fox's government that are aimed at reducing the cost of Mexicans abroad sending money home.

Some non-governmental analysts say, however, that the jump merely mirrors a rise in illegal immigration into the United States. "The sad truth is that Mexico still can't create enough jobs to keep its countrymen home," said Luis Miguel Rionda, an immigration expert at the Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana.

He added that the figures also reflect improvement in Mexico's ability to measure the money flow.

"This is a phenomenon that reflects the harsh economic reality that belies the rhetoric coming from our politicians," he said. Remittances are critical to Mexico's economy. Unlike other economic engines, whether oil, tourism or foreign investment, remittances have proved more resilient to economic downturns.

Today, nearly 11 million Mexicans call the United States home, census officials estimate. That's about 4 percent of the U.S. population - but almost 10 percent of Mexico's population of 105 million.

Mexico and India lead the world in the value of remittances their diasporas send home, ranking ahead of China, Pakistan and the Philippines. Last year, India received $17.5 billion in remittances from the United States.

Money sent home to Mexico helps sustain households and keeps many citizens from falling deeper into poverty. But, there are consequences, some analysts say. As more dollars flow south, more Mexicans ponder heading north in search of their own bright future, Rionda said.

One such person is Gerardo Mendoza, a 19-year-old worker at a tequila distillery in Arandas, Jalisco. Fresh from two years of waiting tables in Los Angeles, Mendoza had dreams of settling down in his hometown. He now plans to once again head north, in the fall.

"It's better when you're the one sending the money," he said. "Not when I have to wait for my brother to send it to me."

(c) 2005, The Dallas Morning News via NewsCom.

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The explosive increase in remittance money, officials have said, is a reflection of policies of President Vicente Fox's government that are aimed at reducing the cost of Mexicans abroad sending money home. Some non-governmental analysts say, however, that the jump merely...
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2005-00-18
Monday, 18 April 2005 12:00 AM
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