California Leads Increase In Remittances To Mexico From U.S.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015
By Jean Guerrero

Teresa Gomez sends money to her mother in Mexico twice a month from San Diego. The 49-year-old migrated from Mexico more than two decades ago and is now a U.S. citizen.

“That’s what one does when one comes here: work, to take care of one’s family in Mexico,” she said.

Gomez contributed to the $5.6 billion in remittances sent to Mexico from the U.S. during the first quarter of this year. According to the Bank of Mexico, total remittances to Mexico increased five percent from the same period last year.

California sent more remittances than from any other U.S. state: $1.6 billion. Tijuana received $88.3 million in remittances – more than any other Mexican city.

Gomez said she was born in small Mexican town called Arandas in the state of Jalisco. Her 79-year-old mother still lives there with two of Gomez’s sisters. Her sisters help take care of their mother, but local salaries are low. One sister works as a dentist’s assistant for a weekly salary of 900 pesos, or around $60.

Working the cash register at a San Diego meat packaging plant, Gomez is able to send her mother $350 cash transfers twice a month.

“So she can survive over there in Mexico,” Gomez said.

Researchers said the increase in remittances is an indicator of a recovering U.S. economy. Immigrants are increasingly likely to find jobs north of the border.

David Scott FitzGerald, co-director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, said the job market for Mexican-Americans has especially improved in the construction sector.

“Immigrants are working more hours and have more money to spare for their families in Mexico,” he said.

The Mexican-American unemployment rate fell to 7.2 percent last year, compared with 12.4 percent in 2010, he said.

Another factor that may be contributing to the rise in remittances is the exchange rate. Dollars sent to Mexico are worth more today than they were several years ago. The dollar has strengthened against the peso to about 15 pesos to the dollar, from about 13 pesos to the dollar last May.

“Now is a great time to send remittances to Mexico,” he said.

The $5.6 billion in remittances from the U.S. makes up the majority of total remittances to Mexico, which reached $5.7 billion in the first quarter of this year. Other countries that sent remittances to Mexico included Canada ($21.7 million), Guatemala ($17.3 million) and El Salvador ($13.1 million).

The value of remittances from Texas was the second-largest among U.S. states at $764 million, followed by Illinois with $288 million.

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May 7: Gaming Refugee Status for Central Americans? Decision Rules, Application and the Refugee Status Determination Process of U.S. Hearing Officers

CCIS Seeking Asylum in North America Joint Speaker Series

Gaming Refugee Status for Central Americans? Decision Rules, Application and the Refugee Status Determination Process of U.S. Hearing Officers

In the absence of sufficient transparency at the border regarding how credible fear determinations are made, it is often difficult to assess how accurate are decisions made by border control agents increasingly responsible for issuing credible fear determinations. Drawing upon an in depth case study of the American Immigration Lawyers Association-American Immigration Council Artesia Pro Bono Galya_Ruffer_ArtesiaProject for Central American women and children, the study examines the process of seeking asylum through irregular entry across the United States national border and argues that, through the use of discretion and informal administrative processes, the asylum system, intended to protect human rights, is “gamed” by decision makers such that it has turn into a deterrence system in violation of our own commitment to asylum and human rights. The research seeks to inform how policy change concerning the “Central American migration crisis” differentially plays out on the ground and advance understandings of how the legal process (starting at the border and ending with a final determination), as an overtly executive infused process, engages with legal aid and advocacy organizations and decision makers across the process that exercise discretion as they juggle the competing demands of technical rationality and quests for justice in their operation.

Galya Ruffer, Director of International Studies and the founding Director of the Center for Forced Migration Studies at the Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University

Thursday, May 7, 4:00pm 
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building 
Conference Room 115, First Floor
 Ruffer-168x210Galya Ruffer is the Director of International Studies and the founding Director of the Center for Forced Migration Studies at the Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University. Her work centers on refugee rights and protection, regional understandings of the root causes of conflict and refugee crises, rule of law and the process of international justice with a particular focus on the Great Lakes Region of Africa. She has published on the role of experts in the refugee status determination process, testimony and justice in the DR Congo, asylum law and policy, human rights litigation in transnational courts and immigrant incorporation and integration in Europe. Her new research focuses on refugee protection outside of the international legal framework. Aside from her academic work, she has worked as an immigration attorney representing political asylum claimants both as a solo-practitioner and as a pro-bono attorney.
For arrangements to accommodate a disability, contact the Office for Students with Disabilities at or (858) 534-9709 (TTY).

IICAS SSN CA school of law

“Is Money Enough” – New Publication from CCIS Research

Adimram Sawyer, who serves on the Education faculty at Bard College, has published a new study in International Migration Review. Using data from the Mexican Migration Field Research Program at CCIS, he compares remittance-receiving families in rural Mexico to non-remittance receiving households in terms of how the presence of this financial source relates to variation in parent educational aspirations for their children and youth enrollment and completion at the non-compulsory upper secondary schooling level. 


Read “Is Money Enough?: The Effect of Migrant Remittances on Parental Aspirations and Youth Educational Attainment in Rural Mexico