Mexican undocumented immigrants in the U.S. have become new entrepreneurs in Mexico using the dollars earned “on the other side” to create a middle class, reports The Washington Post.
Surveys now reveal that the longer a migrant stays up north, the more likely the cash transfers will be used to start new businesses or to pay for homes, farm equipment and school tuitions.
In Santa Maria del Refugio, dollars scrimped and saved in the United States have transformed a poor pueblo into a town of curbed sidewalks, Internet cafes and rows of two-story homes rising on a hillside where scrawny cattle once grazed, the newspaper reports.
Development experts and economists in Mexico have struggled to measure the extent to which remittances, the money sent home by migrants, have fueled middle-class growth. The Mexican government is good at counting the dollars flowing into the country. Less understood is what recipients are doing with the money.
Some 12 million Mexicans — which represents 15 percent of Mexico’s labor force — reside legally and illegally in the United States, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Researchers say the longer that migrants work in the United States, the more their money drives upward mobility.