More On The Mexodus: Parasite Nation

Just as mass immigration is making the United States an Alien Nation, so the extraordinary phenomenon of government-encouraged mass emigration from Mexico–what has been called the "Mexodus" – is turning Mexico into a Parasite Nation.

As Allan Wall pointed out on September 23, two reports recently released by the Mexican government show just how entangled the U.S. and Mexico are today.

The first, "Migration in Mexico and the World," from the National Population Council (Conapo) revealed that over the last 40 years "registered" emigration from Mexico exceeded 17 million – overwhelmingly bound for the U.S. The second, from the Bank of Mexico, revealed that in the first half of 2003 – for the first time – remittances of U.S. dollars to Mexico by Mexicans in the United States exceeded inflows from foreign investment and tourism.

I'd like to add two points to Allan's discussion:

  • Mexico's population is now approximately 100 million. The Conapo report puts the number of Mexicans i.e. individuals born in Mexico now living in the United States at 9.5 million. Conapo estimates the number of American-born children of Mexicans as 8.2 million. And it estimates that there are 7.8 million second-generation descendants of Mexicans in the United States. [ Llegaron a EU 17 millones de mexicanos By Sonia Garcia, El Sol de Tijuana. August 29th, 2003]

So Conapo is claiming that, all told, there are more than 25.5 million Mexican immigrants and their descendants in the U.S. – excluding those derived from the pre-1963 presence.

In other words, one out every five Mexicans in the world now lives in the U.S.

Not surprisingly, Conapo finds that emigration to America now thoroughly permeates Mexican life. Nearly one in every five Mexican households (18% - 3.8 million) have "some kind of migratory experience" with the U.S. and/or receive remittances. Essentially all (96%) of the 2,350 Mexican municipalities (municipios) "have some type of contact with the United States, either through migration to that nation or returns from there, as well as through money transfers from the United States." Well over a third of Mexican municipios (884 – 38%) are characterized by Conapo as having very high, high or medium "migratory intensity." Only one municipio in 25 (93 - 4%) is characterized as having no emigration.

  • The Bank of Mexico's numbers show that, in the first half of 2003, remittances jumped by 29% to $6.3 billion. That suggests they should be well over $12 billion for the year. Many of those dollars would, of course, have been taxed away if they had been earned legally in the U.S. Remittances are certainly understated: the Bank of Mexico counts dollars brought home by Mexicans personally as "tourism" rather than what they almost always are: the import of money gained up north.

Even Conapo, which approves of remittances, admits that "the great majority of the money is spent on satisfying basic needs, the purchase of durable consumer goods or home improvement" rather than in areas that create Mexican jobs.

Vicente Fox has lauded Mexicans in America as "heroes" who keep both the U.S. and Mexican economies afloat. But some Mexicans now question whether the wholesale translation of Mexican towns and cities to the U.S. is good for Mexico. (What it does to America is not their concern).

Roberto Madrazo, the leader of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), the monolithic former ruling party, calls the dependence on remittances a "clear indication that we are on the threshold of a social crisis."

Madrazo is right. At this point, American immigration reform may be all that can arrest Mexico's slide into complete parasitism.

Howard Sutherland (email him) is an attorney in New York.