Two Mexicos, two stories

There’s in interesting confluence between Chad the Elder’s post today on Fraters Libertas and an article in the Washington Times, also from today. The globe-trotting Chad, currently in Chihuahua, recounts a rant by his Mexican host describing the “two Mexicos” and his opinion that the Mexicans working in the U.S. are not the same as those back home:

“Let me tell you something; they’re not real Mexicans. You see, there are two Mexicos. This…us…here…THIS is the real Mexico. Them? They’re not really Mexican.”

Those in the States may be different, but they are a significant percentage of the population, according to the Times article: more than 10 percent of the Mexican population is currently in the U.S., including more than 14 percent of the country’s workforce, and they send home $23 billion a year. Nevertheless, some of those back home are lonely:

Mexican wives want U.S. to return husbands

By Stephen Dinan


February 26, 2007

The women of Tecalpulco, Mexico, want the U.S. government to enforce its immigration laws because they want to force their husbands to come back home from working illegally in the United States.

They have created an English-language Web page where they identify themselves as the “wetback wives” and broadcast their pleas, both to their men and to the U.S. government.

“To the United States government — close the border, send our men home to us, even if you must deport them (only treat them in a humane manner — please do not hurt them),” it reads.

In poignant public messages to their husbands, the women talk about their children who feel abandoned, and worry that the men have forsaken their families for other women and for the American lifestyle.

“You said you were only going to Arizona to get money for our house, but now you have been away and did not come back when your sister got married,” one woman writes to a man named Pedro. “Oh how I worry that you have another woman! Don’t you love me? You told me you love me.”

It’s a stark reminder of an often forgotten voice in the U.S. immigration debate — the wives, children, parents and villages left behind as millions of workers come to the U.S., many of them illegally. The plea also underscores the dual effects of migration on Mexico: Its economy needs American jobs as an outlet for workers, but determined, able-bodied workers get siphoned out of Mexico.

More than 10 million Mexican-born people, or nearly one out of every 10, was living in the United States in 2005. And as a percentage of the work force it’s even higher: One in seven, or 14 percent, were here, according to the Migration Policy Institute. The institute said 77 percent of Mexican workers in the U.S. were younger than 45, and 70 percent were men.

Villages devoid of men between 20 and 50 are common in many parts of the country. The stories of single mothers struggling to raise their children are just as frequent.

But for now, Mexico is also addicted to the influx of cash. In 2006, Mexican workers in the United States sent $23 billion back to their families in Mexico, an amount that rivals Mexico’s foreign income from oil sales.

All in all, it sounds like a theme that can turn Kevin Ecker into a “family values” guy.

2 thoughts on “Two Mexicos, two stories

  1. In light of this new evidence, I challenge the Bush Administration to explain why they hate families and why they seek to break them apart.

  2. $23 billion, just the Mexican population. Does anyone know the figure of $’s leaving if you add up the Somalis, Hmongs, Arabs, Asians, etc,etc,etc? That’s a lot of dinero leaving our shores.

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