Illegal Immigration Likely to Increase: Mexicans Get Less Aid From Migrants -- Downturn in U.S. Increases Poverty, Desire to Go North
The effects of the subprime mortgage crisis and the downturn in the U.S. economy have cascaded into Mexico, causing a sudden, precipitous drop in the flow of money sent home by Mexican immigrants and highlighting this country's dependence on its wealthier northern neighbor.
In January, the cash transfers, known as remittances, sagged almost 7 percent compared with a year earlier, the steepest monthly dip in at least 13 years, according to Mexican government statistics. Economists here believe the decline in remittances is already pushing thousands into extreme poverty and could lead to a significant increase in migration as desperate Mexicans, deprived of support from abroad, flee to an ever more difficult U.S. job market.
"It is a vicious, perverse circle," Juan Manuel Padilla, a demographer in the economics school at the University of Zacatecas, said in an interview. "Work opportunities here are nonexistent, so this is going to cause more migration to the United States, even though it is getting harder to find work over there."