Money sent home by Mexican migrants declined by 2.2 percent in the first six months of 2008, the first sustained drop in more than a decade, Mexico’s Central Bank reported Wednesday.
The downturn in U.S. housing construction and stepped-up U.S. immigration raids have made it tougher for migrants to find jobs, and less able to send home money.
Jesus Cervantes, director of economic measurement for the bank, said year-end figures are expected to continue this trend—the first sustained drop since 1995, when Mexico’s central bank began keeping a tally.
Money sent home by Mexican migrants—also known as remittances—is the country’s second-largest legal source of foreign income, after oil exports. And for years, it contributed to a growing Mexican economy: Annual remittances nearly tripled from about US$9 billion in 2001 to almost US$24 billion in 2007, amid improved reporting methods and an exodus of migrants from Mexico.