Mexican remittances from migrants hit record levels | Economy | DW

The number is gigantic: Loud Migrationdataportal.org in 2021 alone, about $ 54 billion went to Mexico. Thus, the country came second after India (89 billion) in the global table of countries with an annual inflow of remittances from abroad. Loud El Economista About 25 percent came from remittances from Mexican-born migrants living in the United States. The trend continues.

A few days ago, Mexican media reported a new historic record. Citing the Mexican central bank (Banxico), the amount of foreign transfers increased again in May 2022 to USD 5.17 billion, i.e. by 14%. more than in the same record month of 2021.

Necessary help

So called Remesas, as Latin Americans call home transfers, are an indispensable source of income for many Central and South American families to cover their living expenses. Especially in times of crisis, such as the corona pandemic, or the current economic crisis with high staple food and energy prices, international transfers are a form of life insurance for millions of Latin American households. After the devastating hurricanes in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala over the past two years, remittances have been a lifeline for families who have lost everything to disasters.

People are fleeing north: here in Arcandi, Colombia – destination: USA

More than one fifth of the national economy

“In some countries, such as Jamaica, Honduras and El Salvador, incoming remittances account for at least a fifth of the total economy,” says Ana Gutiérrez of the Mexican institute. IMCO in an interview with DW. “This range increased again during the crisis,” reports Gutiérrez. The expert points to a direct link between the economic situation in the USA and foreign transfers to Latin America.

If the economic situation in the US is good and the labor market recovers, remittances home will typically be lagged behind. For example, 2021 saw a recovery in the U.S. construction industry, where traditionally many Latinos work and then send money home.

On the other hand, it also means a risky dependency. For example, if there were an economic crisis or strong exchange rate fluctuations in Europe or the US, this would also have a direct impact on countries where the percentage of international transfers is particularly high. The declining revenues then due to shrinking foreign transfers would have to be compensated in other ways, says Gutiérrez.

debate in migration policy

After more than 50 Latin American migrants were found in a truck in Texas in June, the media flared up again about the attractiveness of Remes. The newspaper mentions, inter alia, the Brazilian clergyman Mauro Verzeletti, who worked for a long time in Guatemala La Hora he cites that for some politicians in Central America this is an easier way to solve the problems. There is a kind of motto there: “Go away, we need transfers.”

Forced to migrate

Secretly, part of the policy would shirk responsibility for the fight against corruption and impunity and thus structurally improve the situation in the countries of origin. Any unemployed or low-income person who then embarks on a life-threatening trip to the United States is one of the less problems for local governments and may instead potentially become a US referrer in the future. Migrants then run the risk.

Mexican newspaper El Heraldo therefore he made a critical conclusion these days. The transfers are not cause for celebration, commented columnist Jorge Romero Herrera. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador thanked the approximately 38 million Mexicans living in the United States on several occasions for remittances to our country. However, this is not all good news as it indicates that more Mexicans have had to leave the country to support their Mexican relatives.

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