A proposal in the US Congress to legalize (M) millions of undocumented US immigrants could hurt Mexico's economy. So say some Mexican economists, who say the legislation could slash the amount of money the immigrants send home to Mexico.
They argue that Mexicans with permission to work in the United States will want to bring their families north to live with them. That would eliminate the main reason they send money home. That would hurt Mexican businesses that have come to depend on the money sent down from the United States.
Miguel Cervantes Jimenez is an economist at Mexico's National Autonomous University. He says remittances from US immigrants
could drop by as much as 40 percent.
He based his calculation in part on the situation in Turkey, where he said half the remittances disappeared in 2001. That's the year after Germany -- which is a prime destination for Turkish emigres -- passed a broad legalization law.
In 2005, US immigrants sent home 39 (B) billion dollars. About half of that went to Mexico, where remittances are the second-largest source of foreign income after oil sales. In El Salvador and Guatemala, remittances represent the largest source of foreign revenue.