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."
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.
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
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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