*This post has also been cross-posted in the FPA's Latin America Blog.
Behind oil export and above tourism, remittances from Mexicans abroad to their home country makes up a large part of the cash that builds homes and futures in many Mexican communities. With the recent economic crisis in the US, America's neighbours are starting to feel the fallout of the Mortgage Crisis that is slowly presenting problems in countries outside of the G8. With many Mexicans living in the US in hard hit areas, those funds that used to pay for medicine, food, homes and everything else for families of migrants from Mexico are now suddenly being cut off with great effect.
With a decline in remittances of 7% since last year, many in Mexico who were just keeping afloat may slip into poverty this year. Many small villages who sent their young men and women over the border and who often are mired in economic troubles are the hardest hit communities in Mexico when economic troubles loom. With remittances to Mexico increasing five and a half times since 1997 to $24 billion, these funds are not only a necessity, but is Mexico's second largest source of foreign revenue. What also seems to focus the tension on Mexico is that areas in the US where Mexicans have migrated to are also those worst hit by the crisis. While migrants from El Salvador and Guatemala are also affected, those communities often have settled in the Washington-Maryland areas which have been less affected by the crisis according to The Washington Post.
The likely effect of the crisis outside the US may result in more illegal migration across the border. Despite the troubles in the US, communities in Mexico near poverty will not weather the lack of funds as easily as much of the United States. Economies tied in with the US will slowly feel the effects of economic troubles in their largest export market. The lack of sympathy for future trade agreements and harder policies on immigration will also likely take hold with the poor economy and continued anti-NAFTA and FTA sentiments in the US Congress. The next American President will have a lot of repair work when beginning his or her job in 2009.