Day 10: The Crisis There Will Be Enormous Here

Last year, family remittances to Mexico from the United States totaled $36.05 billion, 7% more than the previous year, the highest amount on record. In December of last year alone, it was $3.08 billion.

The figure exceeds the flow of foreign direct investment — about $35 billion, $26 billion of which is oil exports. In addition, there is the income from tourism: last year around $25 billion, representing 2.7% of the country’s gross domestic product in 2018.

In Michoacán, Oaxaca, Zacatecas and Guerrero, remittances are 10% of gross value added. In 2018, according to data from the report that BBVA* presents each year, 83.2% of male Mexican migrants were part of the workforce in the United States. In 2018, the U.S. registered an average unemployment rate of 3.6%. Half of the Mexican migrant women were part of the labor force. Their unemployment rate was 5.5%.

Last week the United States Department of Labor announced that 3.3 million workers had applied for unemployment insurance in one week. It was the highest number in the country’s history, five times higher than the record set in 1982.

We do not know how many of those seeking unemployment are from our country, but surely the total includes some number of them. And of course, immigrants who do not have legal documentation aren’t counted in the totals and have no access to those benefits. At his press conference yesterday, Donald Trump said the coming weeks would be even more difficult.

The crisis in the United States and around the world is and will be, above all, one of unemployment. The impact on our citizens is unpredictable, but it will not be small. Therefore, the impact on remittances and the families who depend on them will be enormous. Just look at what happened during the economic crisis that started in 2008, and that was not an employment crisis like this.

There is no bank transfer program big enough to cover this gap. There will be bad times there for our citizens who have migrated abroad and for their families here.

*Translator’s note: BBVA México is the country’s largest Mexican financial institution.

About this publication

About Patricia Simoni 78 Articles
I first edited and translated for Watching America from 2009 through 2011, recently returning and rediscovering the pleasure of working with dedicated translators and editors. Latin America is of special interest to me. In the mid-60’s, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile, and later lived for three years in Mexico, in the states of Oaxaca and Michoacán and in Mexico City. During those years, my work included interviewing in anthropology research, teaching at a bilingual school in the federal district, and conducting workshops in home nursing care for disadvantaged inner city women. I earned a BS degree from Wagner College, masters and doctoral degrees from WVU, and was a faculty member of the WVU School of Nursing for 27 years. In that position, I coordinated a two-year federal grant (FIPSE) at WVU for an exchange of nursing students with the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. Presently a retiree, I live in Morgantown, West Virginia, where I enjoy traditional Appalachian fiddling with friends. Working toward the mission of WA, to help those in the U.S. see ourselves as others see us, gives me a sense of purpose.

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