US Downturn Cuts Migrants' Payments Home

Mexican families struggle without funds relatives send home
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 18, 2008 10:30 AM CDT
Mexican migrant aid Grupo Beta officer Enrique Enriquez talk to migrants before they cross to the United States, in outskirts Nogales, Mexico, Thursday, May 24, 2007.    (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)
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(Newser) – The downturn in the US economy is also hitting Mexico hard, the Washington Post reports. Money sent home from the US, known as remittances, dropped nearly 7% in January compared with the year before, the biggest plunge in 13 years, says the Mexican government. Without that money, the country's No. 2 source of foreign currency, many Mexicans can’t pay for basic needs.

"Neither the government nor the families who are affected have a good alternative to remittances," says an economics professor. For many, remittances covered a range of costs, including housing, medical, and childcare expenses. And with the relatives supporting them losing their American jobs and even homes, the prospects for the mostly elderly residents left behind in Mexico are grim.