Money from Mexican migrants to Mexico continues to fall

The money that Mexicans living abroad send home to their families here in Mexico fell again in May, in what the Associated Press calls the biggest monthly decline on record.

"Money sent home by Mexicans working abroad fell by 19.9 percent in May, the biggest monthly decline on record as the U.S. recession slashed jobs.

"Remittances dropped to $1.9 billion from $2.4 billion in May 2008, the central bank said on Wednesday. The amount of money sent home in the first five months of 2009 fell 11.3 percent to $9.2 billion compared with the same period last year.

"Remittances are the second-biggest source of foreign currency after oil exports in Mexico, and their decline has contributed to the country’s own economic downturn."

The recession in the United States and related job cuts, combined with the crack down on illegal immigration might tempt some migrants living in El Norte to head home. But things are just as bad if not worse in Mexico.

Even on a normal day, if there were so many great jobs in Mexico then there wouldn’t be12 million Mexicans living illegally in the United States, where they go looking for better job – el Sueno Americano.

But the recession up north is causing the demand for exports to drop. The U.S buys around 80 per cent of Mexico’s exports, so it’s a serious blow for the country. The knock on effect here? More job cuts. So if there already weren’t enough jobs, now it’s only getting worse for Mexico. Swine flu earlier this year didn’t help, and neither do the steady reports of drug related violence from around the country. T

he City Government’s modest program of subsidised soup kitchens and unemployment cheques shouldn’t just be confined to the city. As the informal system of social security that migrants have provided to their families living in Mexico starts to fall away, the pressure on the Government to help out it’s poor and unemployed will only grow.


So far, it’s efforts have largely been limited to the left-leaning city government. So what comes next?


— Deborah Bonello in Mexico City