Fw: FNS News: More on "Reverse Remittances"
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, October 05, 2009 7:54 PM
Subject: FNS News: More on "Reverse Remittances"
October 5, 2009
A Strange Development in Cross-Border Money Flows
In a strange twist to US-Mexico money flows, new reports of the phenomenon
of "reverse remittances" continue to surface. According to the director of a
Mexican rural micro-banking system that serves predominantly indigenous
communities in southern Mexico, family members of migrants working in the
United States are sending money north of the border to keep their loved ones
afloat in tough economic times.
Martin Zuvire, director of the Mexican Association of Social Sector Credit
Unions (AMUCSS), said in an interview with the Mexican press that migrants'
relatives are sending between $200 and $400 each month to El Norte. Although
Zuvire did not offer total amounts, he reported seeing an increased money
outflow during the last four months.
The AMUCSS operates in about 550 communities in the states of Oaxaca and
Puebla. Rural communities, Zuvire said, confront a double crisis of
home-based migrants now finding themselves without jobs in Mexican cities as
well as in the United States.
Reports of reverse remittances come at a time when the migrant money flow
from the US to Mexico has dropped to its lowest level since 1996. The
central Bank of Mexico reported last week that remittances fell 12.88
percent during the first eight months of 2009 compared with the same time
period in 2008.
In communities served by the AMUCSS, the recent decrease has been in the
order of 30 percent, according to Zuvire. In addition to Oaxaca and Puebla,
other states slammed by the remittance crisis include Chiapas, Tabasco and
Campeche. All the states constitute newer sending regions in the broader
history of Mexico-US migration.
Raul Feliz of the Mexico-based Center for Economic Research and Teaching
projected earlier this year that remittances to Mexico would suffer a seven
percent drop from 2008's total, perhaps reaching $23 billion by year's end.
In August 2009 the average remittance in Mexico was $310, an amount down
from $343 during the same month in 2008, according to the Bank of Mexico.
Despite the dive, 2009 remittance revenues are expected to nearly rival
petroleum exports as a leading source of foreign exchange.
For the first eight months of 2009, oil exports brought in about $15.4
billion to Mexico's coffers, while remittances accounted for almost $14.7
Multiple reports have attributed much of the remittance downturn to the
collapse of the US construction industry, which was estimated to employ 18
of every 100 Mexicans working in this country prior to the economic crisis.
AMUCSS' Zuvire said that family savings and possibly loans from relatives
are being employed to support migrants in the US.
It's unclear if money from loan sharks or human traffickers, who charge
hefty fees to illegally cross people into the US in the first place, is now
being invested to pay routine living expenses until the economy picks up and
businesses turn once again to immigrant labor. If migrants and their
families are falling further into debt to high-interest lenders, a modern
form of indentured servitude could be emerging.
In any event, crossing the Mexico-US border is becoming a costlier endeavor
in more ways than one. A joint study by the Civil Liberties Union of San
Diego and Imperial Counties and Mexico's National Human Rights Commission
reported last week that about 5,600 migrants have died while trying to cross
the border without papers since 1994.
Sources: La Jornada, October 2 and 4, 2009. Articles by Roberto Gonzalez
Amador and Susana Gonzalez G. El Universal, October 2, 2009. Article by Jose
Manuel Arteaga. American Civil Liberties Union, September 30, 2009. News
Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news Center for Latin
American and Border Studies New Mexico State University Las Cruces,New
For a free electronic subscription email: fnsnews@...
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from