[La Jornada, Mexico]



La Jornada, Mexico

Mexicans in the U.S.: A Nation Within a Nation


"People of Mexican descent or those born in Mexico represent 65.7 percent of all Hispanics in the United States; a total estimated at 46.8 million people and constituting 15.4 percent of the total population of that country. Practically speaking, we're talking about a nation within a nation."


By Jaime Martinez Veloz


Translated By Florizul Acosta-Perez


April 23, 2010


Mexico - La Jornada - Original Article (Spanish)

When leaving the country, migrants carry along their traditions, culture, religion, mother tongue and way of life. They take along what they feel has belonged to them since ancestral times and what they want to preserve and hand down to their children's children. In their luggage they hold their personal histories and the way they see their lives - which is about to be seriously confronted.


The hundreds of thousands of Mexicans that emigrate every year have many reasons for doing so. Some live in areas that traditionally expel laborers and so a history of migration is reinforced by cases of successful migrants. Others have relatives living where they are migrating to or want to reunite with their immediate families. Many intend to achieve success and win social recognition within their communities.


Whatever the cause: emigrants and their descendants have a right to maintain spiritual ties to their nation and family roots, preserve their customs and traditions and enjoy the protection of rights guaranteed under the Constitution and the law - even when outside the country. Institutions should encourage migrants to maintain their roots and love of culture and country. The Mexican homeland wants and needs to shelter their children, wherever they live. It cannot abandon them to their fates, especially when we know that many will encounter inhospitable conditions that will inhibit their progress.


Increased control of the border doesn't necessarily prevent the growth of international mobility. When society and the structure of an economy demand labor, it always manages to cross the border - legally or illegally.


The contribution of migrants is one of the pillars of the Mexican economy. According to the Bank of Mexico and the Chamber of Deputies' Center for Documentation, remittances amounted to $21.6 billion in 2005; $25.5 billion in 2006; $26.0 billion in 2007; $25.1 billion in 2008; and $22.5 billion in 2009. The drop since 2007 is due to the recession in the U.S., which has generated fewer job opportunities.


Combine these figures, and in the last five years Mexican migrants have sent home almost $110 billion. This is more than $12 billion more than Mexico's entire external debt, which amounted to $97.390 billion in February, 2010.



These figures offer some idea of the enormous importance of remittances to Mexico, which have become an engine of the economy, spurring it in addition to being a major channel for outside funding originating in the United States. These earnings even compare with revenue from oil and exceed foreign direct investment and tourism - the other traditional legal sources of income from abroad. One might also mention that out of all the remittances sent back to Latin America, our country received over 35 percent of them.


There are numerous statistics about the number of Mexicans in the United States. Varying depending on the source, estimates range between 24 and 30.5 million. If we consider the more conservative figure of 24 million Mexicans, 14 million are Americans of Mexican descent; 10 million were born in Mexico and later migrated to the U.S. If we take the figure of 30.5 million people of Mexican origin, 19.3 million are Americans of Mexican descent and 11.2 million were born in Mexico, later migrating to the U.S.     



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People of Mexican descent or those born in Mexico represent 65.7 percent of all Hispanics in the United States; a total estimated at 46.8 million people and constituting 15.4 percent of the total population of that country. Practically speaking, in regard to Hispanics and Mexicans in particular, we are talking about a nation within a nation.     



According to the National Population Council, increased barriers and difficulties entering the United States as well as insufficient incentives offered by the Mexican economy to attract people back to their own country, have contributed to the wearing out of the mechanisms for processing returning migrants and a propensity for permanent migration. At the same time, the annual number of migrants headed to the U.S. has dropped from between 400,000 and 500,000 people to 350,000 to 400,000. That's about 1,000 Mexicans a day, mainly young people, leaving Mexico in search of brighter horizons and opportunities.


The magnitude of these migratory flows warrants an adaptation of institutional and regulatory realities. It requires organizations to assist and address the new demands generated by this skyrocketing trend, which has so radically altered the social dynamic on both sides of the border. Our country cannot and must not stop actively working on measures to protect every one of these people, our own people, whose departure from Mexico somehow bleeds the county, leaving to foreigners such an important segment of our young people and labor force.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US April 28, 3:59pm]


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