The money that legal and illegal immigrants are sending home, called “remittance,” reached a shocking $148 billion in 2017.
Back in 2016, President Trump threatened to end remittance payments from the U.S. to Mexico.
He has also discussed the possibility of taxing them to pay for the border wall.
CNN Business reported that Mexicans living abroad sent cash home in record numbers last year. The vast majority of the cash came from those living in the United States.
Two main forces drove the trend: Mexico’s weak currency, the peso, and President Trump’s threat to slap a tax on cash shipments, known as remittances, sent from the U.S. to Mexico.
Mexicans sent home $26.1 billion from January to November 2017, according to figures released Tuesday by the central bank of Mexico. That’s the most ever recorded and better than the $24.1 billion sent in 2016 over the same period.
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Legal and illegal immigrants in the United States send a record $148 billion home in 2017, with Latin America and China topping the list, according to new World Bank data.
Mexico received the most, at $30 billion, followed by China at $16 billion and India at $11 billion.
And the three Northern Triangle nations targeted by President Trump’s funding threat over illegal immigration, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, received over $16 billion, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.
The $148 billion shipped home in 2017 is up from the $138 billion in “remittances” in 2016.
And it is up significantly from the $123 billion sent out in 2012. Globally, immigrants sent $625 billion home in 2017, a 7% one-year jump.
The Pew interactive chart of remittances is below.
What’s more, it is likely that the numbers are higher since the World Bank’s figures are estimates and it is hard to track cash delivered home.
The practice has come under fire from several corners.
Immigration reform advocates have criticized the huge amounts of money flowing to corrupt nations.
And some in Congress have charged that the money is earned under the table and thus not taxed as typical income.
Immigration expert Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies recently told Secrets that one concern is that nations from which illegal immigrants come into the United States from feel no need to reform since so much money is coming home from those illegals.
“The sums of money involved are huge, particularly as a share of GDP and personal income in the Central American countries. It offers a big clue as to why these countries are giving only token efforts to stem the tide of migrants to the United States, especially El Salvador and Honduras,” said Vaughan, who regularly testifies before Congress on immigration policy.