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PostUS Aid vs Remittances to Mexico, Central America (Timothy Brown, USA, 09/14/19 4:29 am)
A bit of data might help with the discussion on borders and immigration.
In 2018 US Consulates in Mexico issued 9 million non-immigrant visas, plus 1.3 million Border Crossing Cards. More than a half-million of the NIVs were temporary worker visas (today's braceros).
The number of legal crossings from Mexico into the US were more than 300 million, most of them shopping trips.
In 2018, according to Central Bank Data published by The Dialogue, family remittances to Mexico totaled $33,470,000,000.
Central American countries also received remittances from the US:
Costa Rica $ 531 m.
El Salvador $ 5466 m.
Guatemala $ 9288 m.
Honduras $ 4751 m.
Nicaragua $ 1.501 m.
Total +/- $ 21.5 b.
US foreign aid to Mexico and Central America runs $ 750 m. to $ 1 billion a year.
JE comments: There's no question that remittances accomplish far more than direct aid, which as Tim Brown pointed out recently, is often wasted: "Poor people in rich countries giving money to rich people in poor countries." Remittances are not very useful for major development projects though, such as water and roads. Gary Moore recently discussed Chicago's "Hometown Clubs," which pool money for infrastructure projects in Mexico. Tim, can you give us some other examples?