Why remittances from US to Mexico set new record?

A widespread deportation fear could be motivating the large sending of money

Why remittances from US to Mexico set new record?

2017 was a year of migratory changes in American territory, which affected mainly the Hispanic immigrant community living in the United States. Cancelation of the DACA, suspension of TPS, and the constant threatening of deporting thousands of undocumented immigrants marked the previous calendar. Under this scenario, remittances sent from the US to Mexico reached the highest level of the last decade.

A report issued by the Bank of Mexico, showed that from January to November 2017, 26 billion dollars entered Mexican territory from remittances sent from the United States. Compared with 2016, this figure increased by 6.15%, considering that in 2016, a total of 24 billion dollars came in.

The fall that the Mexican peso has had during the last two years, has motivated the increasing on remittances. However, it is believed that one of the aspects that most impelled this event during 2017, was the widespread fear of many immigrants who could be deported. Therefore, people try to advance any remittance possible. 

"(Remittances Increase) is partly due to possible changes in migration policies. Migrants are sending their savings back home in case they have to return". This is explained by the document issued by Bank of Mexico, which adds that the economic growth in the United States during the past year and its respective recovery in the labor market, helped to increase this kind of remittances.

Nevertheless, it is also worth to highlight that 2017 was a year of disasters for Mexico. Struck by two earthquakes and several hurricanes, the Aztec country had to endure millions of material losses and invaluable human lives. These natural catastrophes may have also motivated the extra remittances to the country, since these become lifesavers for the developing nations and they are the main source of income for thousands of Mexican families.

The wall that will be raised with remittances

A study carried out in 2015 by BBVA bank, showed that remittances in Mexico can be higher than money obtained by oil exportation made by the Latin American country. That is why President Donald Trump, began his term threatening to "seize all payments of remittances derived from illegal wages" and build with such money the border wall that promise to divide both nations.

If this intention is fulfilled, millions of Mexican citizens, most of them living in conditions of poverty, would be left homeless. Furthermore, hundreds of small-businesses, such as beauty salons and restaurants, would be affected. According to BBVA reports, a large percentage of those who receive remittances in Mexico have created micro-businesses, such as beauty salons, that are hardly autonomously sustain.

Trump government has also expressed its interest in deporting the three million undocumented immigrants with a court record in process, before starting a more complex process and getting out of the US the nearly nine million illegal immigrants remaining. This pressure and the recrudescence in migratory laws generate, in the undocumented population, a clear eagerness to send their savings, previously to  new norms or possible deportations are applied.

Despite the widespread fear and xenophobic rhetoric created by the US government, the number of deportations to Mexico has decreased. According to data from the Immigration Policy Unit of the Ministry of Interior, from January to November 2017, 151,647 deportations were registered, while in the same period calculated during 2016, a total of 205,000 Mexicans were repatriated.


Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo

Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza

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