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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?


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