US Immigration: Americans Moving to Mexico

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Taken in Mexico during a parade, many celebrate, children folklorico dancers on the back of a float are pulled behind a tractor. Photo by Andrea Grajeda.

People are finding out that the American Dream may be easier to accomplish outside of the United States, but how fair is it? 

During the height of the pandemic, many people moved to Mexico. This was a reversal of the usual trend of Mexican migrants coming to the U.S. Mexico has fewer coronavirus restrictions, and any American over the age of 16 automatically gets an option for a visitor’s visa that lasts 6 months. The offer is enticing, and many made the relocation. 

Many jobs became remote, and many companies found that remote jobs were just more suitable. That means an American salary in Mexico. 

One U.S. dollar is roughly 20 pesos. The U.S. federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. For a typical 40 hour work week, a person gets roughly $1,160 a month, or 23,200 pesos. Mexico increased their national minimum wage to 178.87 pesos a day, or roughly 5,340 pesos a month, roughly $260 U.S. If someone is earning more than $7.25, they are in a different tax bracket entirely. 

This can mean more free time, a better home, a car and a better quality of life. For someone making a U.S. salary, Mexico is a dream come true. Everything is so cheap, because it is disproportionate. 

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According to BBVA Research, 40% of Mexico’s population lives in poverty, with 8.5% living in extreme poverty. The idea that “Mexico is so cheap” is because nearly half the population is living in poverty. 

How fair is it to Mexican citizens? These immigrants came during a pandemic to exploit Mexico’s lack of COVID restrictions, and take advantage of the difference in pay. The opportunity to move to a new country to instantly feel like one is richer than they are can be a hard one to pass up. 

Many of these immigrants do not refer to themselves as immigrants. They are instead expatriates. This implies that they can return to their country, but Mexicans do not get that choice. Those living in poverty often do not even have the resources to come to the U.S. for a better life, just as those who came to Mexico did. 

It is a distorted reality. It is the illusion of living in a higher financial class, while others have to live on 178.87 pesos a day.

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