NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

AMERICA: MEXICO'S ATM

May 9, 2005

That "giant sucking sound" you hear isn't the jobs that Ross Perot warned we'd lose to Mexico due to NAFTA. It's from all the cash Mexico is collecting from illegals working on this side of the border, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

Funds sent home from Mexican immigrants, both legal and illegal, now outstrip revenues from foreign investors and tourism in Mexico. And "migradollars" are on course to surpass even revenues from Pemex, the state oil company, making them the country's largest source of income.

Furthermore:

  • Revenues from Mexican workers in the United States are critical to Mexico's economy, accounting for nearly one-fifth of its gross domestic product (GDP).
  • They've grown at a 17.6 percent annual clip over the past decade -- thanks to an explosion of illegal immigration -- and are expected to grow by more than 20 percent a year over the next decade.
  • U.S. banks are offering Mexican workers ATM cards -- such as Wachovia's Dinero Directo card -- that make it easier for them to transfer money home to relatives; this year they'll wire as much as $20 billion in cash.
  • For lucky recipients south of the border, where the average wage is below $2 an hour, remittances account for 80 percent of household income.

Mexican President Vicente Fox is also hoping to get assistance for worker's retirement, by pushing a totalization deal with President Bush to permit even Mexicans who have worked in this country illegally to draw U.S. Social Security benefits, says IBD.

The best way to promote reform south of us (to say nothing of Social Security) is to secure our borders -- remember 9-11?-- and pressure Mexico to fix its economy, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, " America: Mexico's ATM," Investor's Business Daily, May 9, 2005.

 

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