“Why work when money just pours in from Western Union regularly?”
Update August 12th: More on remittance culture in Breitbart article about illegal Hondurans in US.
A few years ago when I was researching a story on “temporary protected status” I came across a comment by George Bush, or someone in his State Department, saying that they had to extend TPS for Salvadorans because the money they sent home kept the country afloat.
That money being sent out of the US by immigrants is known as remittances. Indeed, we have lots of posts here over the years about remittances to Somalia and the problems with it.
But, I hadn’t noticed much written about whether the three major countries (Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador) sending their ‘unaccompanied alien children’ to America were turning a blind eye and actually condoning the illegal migration because they know money (a lot of it taxpayer dollars!) would soon flow southward.
In fact when Rush Limbaugh was making fun of Obama and saying why was he so willing to steal the best and the brightest of Central American youths and thus rob those countries of a future, I wondered then why the leaders of those countries weren’t angry at the loss of their children. Is it because the lure of easy money now is greater than any concern for the future of their countries?
So I looked around and found this really good article by Seth Daniel at the Chelsea Record (Massachusetts) entitled: Influx Has Everything to Do with Remittance Culture.
The gist of it is that the “children” will send money ‘home’ and that the flood of easy money ultimately destroys those poor countries, and it destroys local economies in the US as well.
After a lead-in about men coming to America to support their families and finding things tough, Daniel says this:
But make no mistake, they did and still do send money.
The Record reported last year that in 2012, nearly $250 million cash left the communities of Chelsea, Revere, East Boston and Everett in the form of remittances (money sent back to one’s home country). Some $2 billion left the state of Massachusetts alone in 2012. That’s a fortune, and most of it went to Central America – specifically El Salvador and Guatemala. The paper is still waiting to get those same numbers for 2013 from the state, but early reports are that even more was remitted.
Consulates from those countries told the Record in that very same report last year that their countries are deeply dependent upon money sent to family members from American relatives. It has become an important part of life in their countries.
And so what about those countries?
If you talk to assimilated natives of those particular countries – and really any country with a large remittance culture – they will tell you (maybe only secretly) that sending so much money home has ruined the society. People who keep residences in their home countries will tell you that they cannot find anyone to hire in order to maintain those properties. So many formerly hard-working people prefer to just wait for the weekly remittance from America. Why work when money just pours in from Western Union regularly?
This isn’t only in Central America, again. It’s the status quo wherever large sums of remittance money make up a significant portion of a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Then there’s the problem with what happens to a poor economy when so much money starts rolling in without anything being produced or anybody earning said money. Prices skyrocket for food and housing. Land prices go through the roof. Heavy taxes are imposed. Everything all the sudden costs way more than it did, and the money that rolls in suddenly isn’t enough. The more money that is sent, the shorter it stretches.
Then the frantic phone calls begin to come – the money you sent isn’t enough. We need more.
What once cost $1 is now $10.
Destroying the local economy in Massachusetts
….right now we have hundreds of thousands of young adults and older teens pouring over the border to get to America by whatever means necessary. They are certainly fleeing violence, but there is also an aspect of them fleeing in order to get a job and send more money home.
That was expressly said by two women who spoke last week at the Collaborative – one of which who said she needed to send money home to her mother as soon as possible. Naturally, $1 doesn’t go as far as it used to and people need to eat.
The remittance culture needs to be addressed within this debate, but no one wants to talk about it. Just like Broadway Chelsea seems to be ground zero for the unaccompanied minor debate, it is also ground zero for cash leaving the country. Millions upon millions of dollars leave the community via Broadway Chelsea every year. Just a million of that money would transform the outlook of business on Broadway. That’s why this system cripples the community – puts local business out of business because any and all disposable income is being sent instead of spent.
Read it all. And please spread it around, it deserves greater attention then it’s gotten at this local news outlet.
Of course the NGO drivers of the illegal migration don’t give a damn about such matters—it is all about more Democrat voters, sinking our social service system, and changing America forever.
Our complete archive on ‘unaccompanied minors’ goes back several years, click here for all of those posts.