Study Challenges Assumptions About Money Being Remitted to Mexico

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Sending money home to Mexico is a ritual in the migrant experience in the United States. The modest wire transfers of cash pay for food, school supplies, even a new home for family members left behind in Mexico.

But a new study has cast doubt on the amount of transfers – $16.6 billion last year – that actually goes to families. The study, by an official in the Social Development Ministry and two professors at the College of the Northern Border, a research institute outside Tijuana, concludes that families receive only about half of that amount. “We’re just not finding $16.6 billion in Mexican households,” said Rodolfo Tuir?n, who released the study last month…The estimate of remittances by the United States Commerce Department for 2004 was only $9.6 billion, a discrepancy too large to be explained by different counting methods, the study says…The magnitude of the cash flows is a charged political issue in Mexico. President Vicente Fox often refers to Mexicans working in the United States as “heroes.” Meanwhile, the migrants are demanding a greater say in Mexico’s affairs on the strength of the cash they send home.
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Source: The New York Times