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Immigrants Keeping Cash in the US, Sending Less Home

A recent survey shows the economic crunch has long tentacles for immigrant workers in the US. “The longstanding pattern of increasing numbers of Latin American immigrants sending increasing amounts of money back home has stopped,” says the official in charge of the survey.

In the last two years more than three million Latin American immigrants have stopped sending money home — only 50 percent of roughly 18.9 million Latin American immigrants residing in the United States send money back to their native countries as opposed to 73 percent two years ago. What's to blame? To find out,


The cash-hoarding is a sign of decreasing numbers of low-wage jobs available combined with the Bush administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration. Of the Latino Immigrants who were interviewed for this study, 81 percent said it was harder to find a job that could financially sustain them and almost 40 percent said they were earning less this year.

The situation has become bad enough that a lot of immigrants are considering heading back to live in their home countries — among those who have been here less than five years, 49 percent said they were thinking of returning home.

One odd fact in the phenomenon: though fewer people are sending money home, those who are, are sending big bucks. The total amount of money sent back has actually risen by as much as $500 million since 2006.

One potential effect of the cash-freeze — by sending less money home, maybe more money stays in the US economy? What do you think it says about conditions in the US that many newcomers are ready to make it a round-trip?


Join The Conversation
brookrene brookrene 9 years
good for keeping the money in the us. we're paying for all the illegals to live here anyway, education, health care, all of our hard earned money we get taxed on. crapola for sure.
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
wait, I take that back. I must have read it wrong...sorry!
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
"Legal immigrants who are not well educated are going to find it increasingly difficult to find a job in this country...." Is this an error? I don't think it's appropiate to make such generalizations about "legal immigrants." Who says that they are less educated? It may be true for some but not all...
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I am close with a family from Brazil, and they had to leave America, not because they wanted to, but because it is too expensive to have a manufacturing company in the States. Maybe if we made our country more appealing to business, we would not be in Economic trouble. Just a thought.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
It's going to be an interesting day when the American economy is so bad people here will be immigrating to Brazil for work. I'd say that's probably going to start happening in June.
kia kia 9 years
I don't know about Mexico, but I know a lot of Brazilians are returning to Brazil because they can make better money there these days with that country's surging economy.
nicachica nicachica 9 years
that last paragraph was meant to say that in the United States, immigrants put a lot of money into the economy.
nicachica nicachica 9 years
A lot of my family/friends when they send money back home and the money is used in a lot of different ways, some better than others. With my mother and aunt, when they send money back to Nicaragua, it's to help my grandmother afford her meds and other supplies, as well as with household expenses. Another one of my aunts (there are 10 siblings!) is the caretaker of my grandmother so that's pretty much her full-time job. For others, that money goes towards childcare costs to children left behind. Unfortunately, sometimes the money goes to buying tvs and other electronics. Another unfortunate side effect that happens is that there is very little incentive for those left behind to make their own communities better because they focus on improving their homes, not their community in general (who says capitalism is only in America?!). So the schools still stay crappy and there are few people left in the villages to do work because so many of the young people come over here (or other countries) to get better wages. It's a very weird situation and one with lots of shades of gray. This is one of those things where people send money back home and its spent in a myriad of different ways. And on the flip side, a LOT of the money that immigrants make (legal or illegal) are gone to taxes and other living expenses. I don't have all the stats on the amount of money that immigrants put into the economy, but needless to say, it's a freaking huge crapload! ;)
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Well the money SHOULD stay here and be put into our economy... but they can do with it what they please. Has the Mexican economy gotten better? Or worse in the last few years? Could that be a factor?
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
"What do you think it says about conditions in the US that many newcomers are ready to make it a round-trip?" I think you answered this question in the post. If it is becoming increasingly difficult for illegal immigrants to find work then why would they stay here? They came to America to make money to send home, if they are not making the money to make it worth while to be away from their family, then I would go home as well. Legal immigrants who are not well educated are going to find it increasingly difficult to find a job in this country that can bring in enough income to sustain a family, unless we bring industry back to America. Another reason why less money could be going to peoples native countries, could be they have less family living there. And if they are not making as much, it is still expensive to live here, so they would have less to send back at all.
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