Citizens of the United States are aware of the issues of Mexicans crossing the border illegally and taking U.S. jobs. What most do not consider are the impacts of emigration on Mexico.
- Mexico receives an estimated $20 billion yearly in remittances from emigrants. By comparison, the country’s income from oil exports is $25 billion. The average weekly wage in a town like Axochiapan is about 600 pesos or $60, about one-sixth of what most immigrants can make in the United States. The millions sent back to towns cause inflation and sap enterprise.
- Remittances tend to be the highest in the least developed Mexican states. They do not solve Mexico’s problems but perpetuate underdevelopment and encourage more Mexicans to leave.
- In many areas, fatherless families are more prevalent than not. Teenagers and older men remain behind, but few males between the ages of 20-50.
- Mothers and wives have not seen their children and husbands for years. Grandparents have never met their grandchildren. Many emigrants who do return come with drug and alcohol addiction problems.
- Locals fear weakening of their traditions and loss of regional identity. Those who leave Mexico have a higher level of education than the adult population at large. They get “spoiled” by life in America.
- The old social customs of dating are gone. The men used to walk the plaza in counterclockwise circles, the women in clockwise circles, and if a man was interested in a girl, he would try to hand her a flower. If she took it, it meant she was interested and they would sit on benches and talk. Now many of the young men are living in the United States.
- Houses in Mexico are fancier thanks to materials being shipped in from the U.S. paid for by U.S. jobs. Prices of residential suburban lots have doubled in ten years to an average $10,000. With the absence of a mortgage industry, houses must be paid for in cash. Now they are being constructed of concrete instead of adobe and cost about $15,000 which $10/a day farm workers cannot afford.
- The majority of Mexican people are no longer growing their own corn and grinding it to make tortillas each day. Trucks come around selling tortillas and corn flour.
- Corn and sugar cane crops have been replaced by agave which is distilled to make tequila. Harvesting does not need to be done every year.
- Even small towns now have firetrucks, ambulances, new hospitals and schools bought by money made at U.S. jobs. However, many of the residents cannot afford the cost of medical care at the new hospitals and go to the free government hospitals.
- Nearly every household now has a truck or SUV instead of horses for transportation. They also have satellite televisions, cell phones, and gas stoves instead of open fires.
- If Mexico were to be invaded, most of its young males are not home to defend the country.
Mexican presidents have sought more comprehensive immigration reform in the United States to slow the rate of emigration from Mexico. More recently they are focusing on building Mexico’s economy by crushing drug cartels in order to boost tourism, by encouraging foreign investment to build roads and create jobs, and through efforts to improve the standard of living and social services in Mexico. News reports of events like major cruise lines dropping ports of call as in Puerto Vallarta in 2015 due to violence are detrimental to Mexico’s economy.
As the video shows, Mexican emigrants are risking their lives in attempts to cross the border illegally. They are told lies and sold emergency kits of aspirin and bandaids by people claiming they can get them across the border after only four hours of walking.