A significantly lower percentage of Mexican migrants are sending money to their homeland from the United States than last year, according to the results of a survey released today by the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).And some think that fears of increased immigration enforcement may be part of the reason for this decline:
The percentage of Mexicans who regularly make remittances fell to 64% in the first half of 2007, down from 71% last year. The drop was the steepest in states where Latin American immigration is most recent, like Georgia, North Carolina or Pennsylvania. In “new destination” states the percentage plunged to 56% this year from an average 80% in 2006.
States that have long had large Hispanic communities, such as California, Texas, Florida and New York, have not seen similar falls. In “traditional destination” states the percentage of Mexicans who regularly send money home slipped to 66% from 68% over the same period.
Bendixen says this group of Mexicans faces difficulties that have made them less optimistic, such as the lack of well-paying jobs, education and proficiency in English, as well as difficulty getting immigration documents.
He also suggested that immigrants might be saving more money instead of sending it abroad because they feel uncertainty about their future.
About half of the 900 immigrants, Mexican and Central American, interviewed for the survey were illegal immigrants, he added.
"They just don't feel welcome in the United States any longer," Bendixen said.