Remittances to Mexico Spike as Migration Slows
Despite a flatteningimmigration curve, Mexican immigrants in the United States are sending recordamounts of money south of the border.
Remittances to Mexico are on a historic run in 2020. According to the latest reports, the $3.53 billion sent home in July was up 7 percent from the same month last year. Remittances surged to their highest level ($4.02 billion) in March; June was the second highest, eclipsing May’s figure.
While robust remittances arenothing new for Mexicans who account for more than 60 percent of America’sHispanic population, the rising outflows contrast with declining levels ofimmigration.
Since 2014, Mexican migration to the U.S. has been slipping. Between 2016 and 2017, the Mexican immigrant population shrunk by about 300,000, from 11.6 million to 11.3 million, according to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI).
“More Mexican immigrants returnedto Mexico than have migrated to the United States, and apprehensions ofMexicans at the U.S.-Mexico border are at a 40-year low,” MPI reported.
Mexican immigrants who docome are more likely to be college graduates and have stronger English skillsthan those who arrived in prior decades, MPI said. A demographic shift toward potentiallyhigher wage earners may partially explain the continued rise of remittances ina COVID-riddled economy.
On the other hand, Mexican nationals still make up the largest cohort of illegal aliens in the U.S. — some 5 million generally low-paid migrants subsisting in the shadows.
Diverting American dollars to Mexico is a matter of choice by those sending the money. But such transfers harm the U.S. economy, and they can come at a personal price.
The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) recently cited remittances as one of the chief reasons illegal and legal migrants spend less on housing than do low-income native workers. “Thus causing overcrowded living conditions, which, in turn, leads to easier transmission of COVID-19,” CIS asserted.
That scenario is playing out in Texas, where Hispanics account for 52 percent of COVID fatalities, with rates spiking in the Rio Grande Valley bordering Mexico.