Remittances and the New Diaspora Consensus

By
Remittance Center
Remittances and the New Diaspora Consensus - Roberto G. Peña

Abstract

Through analyzing the Mexican and Salvadoran migrant communities living in the US and their remittance flows back to Latin America, this paper attempts to examine the political implications of economically empowered diasporas and how home country governments are responding and becoming more accountable. This paper explores this phenomenon’s implications on political processes through remittance delivery collaboration and reviews recent developments in Mexico and El Salvador in light of the current global economic crisis.

Introduction

The close of the 20th Century brought major changes to governments in Mexico and El Salvador. While the political dynamics of each country differ, Mexico saw a peaceful shift in power ending the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) dominance over the country in 2000, while El Salvador saw a peaceful end to a bloody civil war with the revolutionary forces laying down arms to participate in the political process in 1992. These are two young democracies inextricably linked to the United States by a continual flow of remittances from native workers who migrated to the “land of opportunity.”

Curiously, the dawning of democracy in Mexico and El Salvador was accompanied by a spike in migration that left the two governments politically accountable to their burgeoning diasporas. Through remittances and binational lobbying of US foreign policy, these flourishing émigrés built strong ties to their home governments—ties that will likely strengthen institutions and consolidate their democracies. This new “Diaspora Consensus” will seek to evoke changes in home country governments by promoting transparency, encouraging moderation and leveraging remittances, much like the Washington Consensus influenced Latin American public policy through conditionality in foreign aid and development loans. Mexico, having a longer experience with migration to the US and far more developed external civil society and tangible political influence, may serve as a model for the Salvadoran democracy and its migrants in the US. How these diasporas develop and influence their countries will also be a demonstration of what is possible for other diasporas to follow.

These two diasporas are gaining and have gained significant influence in their home country governments through remittances and their increasing clout in US politics. El Salvador and Mexico need their respective diasporas to provide legitimacy and economic stability and must therefore be accountable to them. The relationship between home country governments and the diasporas has been established and the economic impact is acknowledged. What the relationships currently lack, however, is full political accountability of home country governments and public policy influence. Given the evolving nature of the relationship and dependency, this accountability may be the final step of consolidating country democracies by extending rights to bi-national citizens.

The current global financial crisis will only deepen this accountability. While projections from the Inter-American Development Bank predict a fall in remittance levels in the coming year, they are expected to “decline less than export revenues, tourism, FDI or speculative flows.”[1]

What’s more, Mexican and Salvadoran governments have been working with US authorities to shift remittance flows away from the informal sector to lower transaction costs, maximize capital mobility and better track remittance data. As the economic slowdown takes hold on the Mexican and Salvadoran economies, pressure will mount to improve government accountability in order to increase remittances through official channels. Furthermore, shifting remittances to more formal channels will weaken a regional undercurrent of narco-terrorism.

Through an extended stay in the US, diasporas begin to understand contrasts in government services and political accountability, thereby raising their expectations of performance and lowering their tolerance for failure of the governments in their native countries. The additional discovery that their remittances are keeping their native countries afloat adds to their desire to ensure that their funds are not lost by hyperinflation or government corruption.

Role of Remittances in Mexico and El Salvador

Mexico and El Salvador are relevant remittance case studies because Mexico is among the top five gross remittance recipients in the world (pairing it with countries like China, India and the Philippines) and El Salvador is among the world’s top recipients of remittances as a percentage of their GDP.[2] A surprising development has been how both Mexico and El Salvador’s remittance-to-GDP ratios have risen over the last 20 years, peaking in 2006.[3] This demonstrates how over time, remittance flows grow at faster rates than output and comprise of a larger share of country output.

Mexico’s remittance flows have been growing, but their remittance-to-GDP ratio is much smaller given that its economy has joined the trillion-dollar club. However, this lower ratio should not be misinterpreted as Mexico having less dependency on remittances. Remittance flows in Mexico exceed the value of agricultural exports and tourism receipts.[4] Furthermore, official remittance flows fail to capture the full scope of cash transfers through the informal sector. Another distinction of Mexican remittances is that remittances provide a substantial form of social protection and income transfers, at times even surpassing the state’s capacity to alleviate poverty or to develop rural infrastructure.[5]

Notwithstanding the impact of economic crises, remittance flows are generally regarded as more stable than alternative capital flows.[6] The steady increase in growth rates even prompted El Salvador and Mexico governments to leverage them to obtain sovereign debt by securitizing remittance flows and even receiving investment grade ratings for these “diaspora bonds.”[7] A major slowdown in remittances in Mexico and El Salvador could affect each government’s credit rating and further hurt their ability to issue sovereign debt in private capital markets. Given the possible decrease in remittance flows as a result of the economic crisis, the Mexican and Salvadoran governments face pressure to ensure that their diasporas continue to send remittances through official channels. Much discussion is taking place on the future of remittance flows, but the how governments respond politically will demonstrate how much leverage that diasporas hold.

Devesh Kapur of the Center for Global Development writes:

Rather than simply react to state policies, international migration and remittances have forced states to accommodate new realities. In lieu of political voice, migration becomes an exit strategy, and remittances either fuel further exit or empower political voice by making resources available to new groups. [8]

The policy concessions that the Mexican and Salvadoran governments grant to their diasporas and the increased accountability that will result is the new conditionality that will constrain governments. This “Diaspora Consensus” will demand greater transparency in government activities and the policy making process. An immediate condition that will be sought out by the Salvadoran diaspora will be the external vote, or right to vote abroad. This development is significant because it further strengthens the diaspora’s voice in the political process. Mexico already grants this right to its citizens living abroad. So influential is their diaspora that the Mexican legislative assembly has even considered making the Mexican population in the US a congressional district with full representation. US-based Mexican immigrants have even won political office in Mexico from abroad.[9]

HTAs as Institutionalization Mechanisms for Diaspora-Home Government Relations

Both the Mexican and Salvadoran diasporas have been able to organize and target their remittances for infrastructure projects in their countries and wield significant collaboration from the home governments through Hometown Associations (HTAs). HTAs are US-based immigrant organizations of various sizes and fundraising potential that send remittances for specific projects or regions in their home country. The remittance explosion came at a time of the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which encouraged deregulation and increased immigration, effectively enhancing public accountability
in Mexico. El Salvador, now part of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), has followed a similar process. But just as NAFTA preceded CAFTA, Mexico’s more developed HTA programs have brought greater accountability and responsiveness from government. This institutionalization of the development process has brought calls for increasing transparency and a more involved decision making role for migrants abroad.

Collaboration between HTAs and home country governments suffers from persistent bureaucratic problems, but given the small level of immigrant participation in HTAs, the onus falls on governments to accommodate diasporas, to increase transparency and to improve levels of diaspora involvement in order to increase participation and trust in the programs. Governments have an incentive to be more responsive as HTAs offer the ability to target remittance flows towards infrastructure. According to Orozco, although 60% of Mexicans in the US send remittances, only 4% participate in HTAs.[10] Many Immigrants are discouraged by perceived bureaucratic problems with HTAs and simply and direct their remittances elsewhere. In order to increase participation in HTAs, governments must attempt to remedy complaints, leaving them accountable to this external population.

With over 700 HTAs registered with Mexican consulates, established outreach efforts and the allowance of an external vote, the Mexican government is well aware of the potential of HTAs. Another concern for the government may be HTAs highlighting the failures of rural development in parts of Mexico. In Mexican municipalities with less than 1,000 people, remittances can comprise of up to 70% of infrastructure spending. HTAs also offer a much more streamlined distribution process, forcing governments into more expedient action. [11]

In El Salvador, the government has established a vice-ministry for the diaspora. On a smaller scale, it has also created remittance-matching plans similar to the Mexican government’s “Three-for-one” program called “United for Solidarity,” implying a partnership, at least symbolically. As Orozco notes, “an outreach policy to the community residing abroad is key to any migrant-sending country’s economic strategy.”[12] Remittances, and more formally HTAs, are an immigrant’s execution of a desire to participate in their home country’s development process. HTAs institutionalize this process, and, “the economic activities that immigrants engage in with their home countries reposition their roles in more concrete ways, while simultaneously helping their home country stay afloat.”[13]

What has developed among Salvadoran HTAs is a rivalry for control over infrastructure projects. First, HTAs submit proposals to the government development agency. Then, the government can choose to take a majority stake in the program thereby controlling implementation. By contrast, the Mexican process gives HTAs a larger role in the decision-making process, depending upon the municipality. In Mexico, the federal government seems to feel excluded from the process, especially where local municipalities have started “two-for-one” remittance-matching programs that generally capture controlling shares of projects. With El Salvador’s “United for Solidarity” program, approval and control rests more with the state, which selects preferred projects to match funding. With around 200 registered Salvadoran HTAs in the US, it is unclear whether this arrangement is satisfactory to the diaspora. Wielding such collective economic power, albeit less formalized due to lacking external civil society, the Salvadoran diaspora is in a position to leverage concessions from the government for a greater participatory role in remittance programs and possibly the political arena.

Mexican Migrant Community in the US during the late 20th Century

While there is evidence that Mexican political campaigning in the US may have begun over a century ago,[14] the recent spike in immigration to the US and the subsequent realization of mutual interests between the diaspora and Mexican government provides the opportunity to view the dynamic of this relationship as it has evolved in ultimately providing an additional pillar of accountability for the Mexican government and may be the final step in fully consolidating its democracy. Mexico’s binational migrant influence works both ways: migrants send remittances to Mexico for relatives; the Mexican government depends upon these remittances and must now factor in this community in their governing decisions, as evidenced by HTA collaboration. Also, the Mexican government seeks to influence US policy in the US to help its diaspora and relies on their diaspora for influencing US policy towards Mexico.

Some might have viewed Vicente Fox handing out phone cards while campaigning in the US during the 2000 elections as a publicity stunt, [15] but upon taking office, he acknowledged the constituency’s influence by appointing foreign-born officials to his cabinet and creating a special office to promote the interests of Mexicans abroad, “ . . . headed by a Chicano son of immigrants to the United States.”[16] With the Fox Administration appointments, the diaspora had a voice within the policy-making mechanism of its home country. This political infiltration may also be possible in El Salvador soon.

It is this Mexican political outreach in the US that may have sparked diaspora empowerment. The initial objective may have been to encourage migrants to contact relatives in Mexico, but allowing Mexicans in the US the right to vote, may have opened a Pandora’s box of accountability. While Mexican politicians have tried to keep the diaspora at arm’s length, the diaspora has come to expect a closer relationship. The 2005 decision to allow Mexicans abroad to vote by mail has only enhanced the political power of the diaspora.

A survey of diaspora voter registration in the 2006 Mexico Presidential election showed extremely low participation. Out of an estimated 3 million eligible voters in the US, only 56 thousand submitted ballots, and only about 40 thousand counted. While over three-quarters were aware Mexicans abroad would be allowed to vote, only one-fifth were aware of registration deadlines. Significant obstacles and lack of information provided by the Mexican government and the independent electoral commission might also be to blame. The survey also cites the law disproportionately favoring eligibility for younger emigrants.[17]

While the 2006 diaspora voter turnout may indicate the diaspora is not a potent political force yet, it still requires a re-calibration on the part of the government and campaigning candidates. As Fitzgerald notes, “The fact that Mexicans abroad won their political rights, even if only in principle, has permanently redrawn the boundaries of the Mexican immigrant civic arena, with quite open-ended consequences.”[18] A month after voting registration began, the Director of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (a governmental body) preemptively requested that the independent electoral commission launch a media campaign to inform the diaspora of registration deadlines signaling the government’s responsiveness to the diaspora.

The Mexican government has also been proactive in reaching out to the diaspora in the US through consular outreach. The government’s response to this emigrant community throughout the US involves political, economic and foreign policy objectives. This high level of engagement places the Mexican diaspora model in a different category than the Salvadoran model.

Remittances on the Salvadoran Campaign Trail

Following the Civil War, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party was the dominant force in presidential politics. However, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), the political party established by the guerrilla movement after the peace agreement, has since met with notable successes in local and departmental elections and recently won the presidential elections. The level of competition between the two main parties provides a scope by which to view the current diaspora’s influence. The diaspora and remittances have become a campaign issue at several key moments, and the recent presidential election in March of 2009 is a real test for the diaspora’s power and influence on Salvadoran politics.

El Salvador is so heavily reliant on remittances that it dollarized its economy to prevent an inflationary degradation of purchasing power. The influx of remittance in US dollars entering the country also provides its central bank with the necessary dollar reserves. As a percentage of its GDP, El Salvador has one of the highest remittance levels in the world.[19]

Remittances even became a major campaign issue in 2004, with ARENA candidate Tony Saca declaring that an FMLN victory, might prompt the US to cut off remittances and increase deportation of Salvadorans living in the US.[20] This threat may have helped ensure a Saca victory. The same tactic was used by ARENA to describe a potential victory of the FMLN 2009 candidate and election winner, Mauricio Funes. Much like in Mexico, Salvadoran candidates have traveled to the US to gain political support. Funes traveled to the US as early as December of 2007 to court expatriates. He asserted that an FMLN victory would have no repercussions on remittance flows. This accusation proved to be so damaging for the FMLN in 2004 that Funes sought to address it as early as possible. It is quite telling that Funes was able to demonstrate his position as a moderate throughout the remittance debate, which illustrates not only the importance of remittances to the country, but also the diaspora’s influence.

With the transition of power, the debate now shifts towards the quality of democracy and the characteristics of representation. This external population, with its economic contribution and possibility of eventual return to the home country, deserves a stakeholder’s role in the future of the country. Representing nearly 20% of El Salvador’s population, the diaspora in the US could represent a significant voting block if given the external vote (compared to the Mexican diaspora comprising of less than 10% and already wielding significant influence).[21]

The omission of such a sizable actor that still exerts significant cultural, economic and familial ties, should not be ignored given the rising presence of Latinos in the US and the possibility of establishing a diaspora like the Cuban lobby, which seeks to influence changes in Cuba through US foreign policy lobbying. Just as Fox went from handing out phone cards in the US to formalizing the diaspora clout with cabinet appointments and ultimately the external vote, there will come a time when the Salvadoran government may have to grant similar concessions. As Orozco also notes, “Just as the economic contributions of migrants to their home countries are significant, their participation in the policy debate should make them development stakeholders with voice and authority.”[22] Were the Salvadoran and Mexican diasporas denied this role, they might have instead focused their efforts upon directing policy changes by lobbying in the US. A 2005 Los Angeles Times article on the Mexican external vote issue quotes a Mexican HTA project director, “If the [Mexican] Congress wouldn’t have approved this, the immigrants would have made them pay a huge price.”[23]

The Cuban and American-Israel lobbies offer contrasts for the Mexican and Salvadoran contemporary models in terms of objectives and evolution. Fitzgerald notes that Mexican political leaders have intermittently attempted to create a ‘Mexican American lobby,’ often explicitly modeled on the American Jewish or Cuban lobbies.[24] As a younger diaspora, the Salvadoran diaspora is drawing lessons from these models as well as the foundations laid by the Mexican diaspora. Home country governments may want a diaspora lobby to form in the US to
legitimize their actions, but if diasporas are not given a stakeholder role in policy making, an issue to consider is whether Mexican and Salvadoran communities in the US will decide to abandon the home country political process and exert their influence in the US to reach their desired outcomes and circumventing their home country governments.

Accountability Gaps in Mexico and El Salvador

The FMLN victory in El Salvador may result in an acknowledgement of the diaspora with political appointments and expanded consular outreach, much like what took place in Mexico after the Fox victory. This would signal a diaspora development pattern much like that of Mexicans living in the US. Salvadorans in the US are already asking for the external vote, after gaining the right to return and vote. The new Funes government may prefer to keep Pandora’s box closed, but with an upwardly mobile population in the US anxious to participate in the political process, it may have no choice but to expand collaboration and political rights to its diaspora, and ultimately acquiesce to this new pillar of accountability. With several news sources focusing on immigrants returning to El Salvador to vote, the election outcome signals a victory in empowering Salvadorans living in the US. Government figures estimate approximately 40,000 US-based immigrants returned to vote in the elections.[25] With around 4,000,000 registered voters, Funes’ margin of victory of 51.3% (2,052,000 votes) gave him an edge of about 100,000 votes. If government estimates of 40,000 diaspora voters are correct, the returning diaspora could have tilted the outcome of the election with an additional 10,000 voters, without even having the external vote. [26] The FMLN’s narrow margin of victory in the election only intensifies this diaspora political empowerment.

In Mexico’s 2006 presidential elections, Mexicans voters in the US were less than one-half of one percent of the 10 million eligible voters,27 [1] yet Calderon’s small margin of victory will only strengthen campaign efforts to reach the diaspora in the US in future elections. With only a slight improvement in voter turnout, the diaspora could have determined the outcome of the 2006 election. Fox showed foresight in campaigning in the US, but he may have also been a catalyst with his subsequent overtures to Mexicans living in the US. Similarly, as campaigning in the US by Salvadoran candidates intensifies, suggesting this cycle may have also begun in El Salvador. With Funes ensuring remittances flows would not stop, he may have made his first concession to the diaspora.

In El Salvador and Mexico, where migration to the US is an alternative development mechanism, home country governments have a respective need to ensure these capital flows continue and that migrants continue to have an incentive to send remittances for reasons other than altruism. Mexico has already created remittance fund-matching programs and expanded political rights and outreach to its diaspora. The government of El Salvador has not yet reached the same level of involvement with its diaspora, but through alternative channels in the US (think tanks, media, word-of-mouth), its diaspora is fully aware of the incentives and political accountability that can be achieved. The Salvadoran diaspora will continue to attempt to expand its political influence and will ultimately seek a policy making role in its native country.

With such large populations relative to home country populations living abroad and the significant percentage of country GDP reliant on remittances, the lack of access to the political process leaves an accountability gap of an otherwise influential political and economic partner. But in Mexico, where the migrant population in the US enjoys considerable influence, it becomes a matter of what degree of influence and accountability exist and whether the external vote is the ultimate measure to ensure desired outcomes. For the Salvadoran diaspora, there is no mechanism by which to exert direct influence on country governments short of withholding remittances or urging relatives to vote for the opposition. Only until there is a demonstration of this political will, measuring migrant voting patterns or US conditionality based on diaspora lobbying in the US, can home country governments even qualify or quantify the extent of their accountability to their respective diasporas.

The Global Economic Crisis and Remittances

With the recent economic slowdown, developing countries are bracing themselves for the perfect storm of falling foreign aid, export market demand, and declining remittances. Historically, remittances to Mexico and El Salvador have proven resilient in the face of economic slowdown. What distinguishes this economic crisis from others is that it is rooted in developed country integrated financial systems, and marks a parallel slowdown of both developed and developing countries, whereas prior crises, like the Mexican Tequila crisis in 1994, the Asian crisis in 1997 and Russian crisis in 1998 were isolated and expediently resolved in order to prevent contagion. The current economic crisis has originated in the US, and thus affects both remittance-sending immigrant workers and developing world export markets, a double-blow for Mexico and El Salvador given their increased trade with the US due to NAFTA and CAFTA.

Discussions are taking place over the effects of the financial crisis on remittance flows to Mexico and El Salvador, including exchange rate and migration considerations. Recent Mexico data for January 2009 shows a 12% decline in remittance flows from a year prior, suggesting the possibility of a double-digit decrease for 2009.[29] In El Salvador, remittance projections range from a drop of 5% from Manuel Orozco of the Inter-American Dialogue, to 8% fall by the country’s outgoing Finance Minister, William Handal. 29 Predicting remittances is an incredibly difficult exercise; one must consider the large numbers of undocumented immigrants and large capital flows in the informal sector, and also look at how diaspora remittances have responded in prior crises and recessions to get an adequate indication.

A 2009 Inter-American Development Bank and the Multilateral Investment Fund report on how the financial crisis will affect remittance flows, explains how migrant workers tend to be more mobile and are more willing to shift to different sectors with higher labor demand during recessions. Migrant worker strategies for coping with a difficult climate to maintain remittance levels can include: “[ . . . ]reducing the amount of money they spend on themselves, working longer hours or multiple jobs in the face of decreasing wages, shifting sectors because of declines in sectors such as manufacturing and construction, moving to areas with higher labor demand, or even dipping into their savings.”[30]

The IDB report also makes an important distinction regarding the role of immigration on remittances by considering migrants in terms of ‘stocks’ and ‘flows.’ The stock refers to the diaspora groups living and working in the US, while the flow refers to how migration patterns adjust to economic conditions. Both stocks and flows impact remittance levels, however the stock is what home country governments can gauge to determine sustainable remittance levels. The declining flow of immigration into the US is relevant to remittances, but the established stock of migrants already living and working and how they are affected by the downturn is the more relevant measure in trying to predict remittance flows. If one considers the stock more relevant to remittances than the flow, there is reason to believe the impact on overall remittances may not be as excessive as anticipated.

Another consideration that may lessen some of the negative impact on Mexican remittance is the declining value of the peso against the dollar. Remittance senders tend to respond to exchange rates and increase flows when dollar purchasing power increases.31 [31] El Salvador cannot benefit from this phenomenon as its economy is dollarized. Another factor that may soften the dual blows is that remittance flows tend to be more stable than other capital flows. But the ultimate indicator for gauging remittance flows will be the performance of the US economy and the length and depth of the current financial crisis, two factors that are largely out of the control of Mexican and Salvadoran governments.

For home country governments this means trying to ensure a steady, reliable flow of remittances, which translates into increased collaboration with their external populations. The establishment of remittance matching programs and working with HTAs in Mexico and El Salvador is very much an attempt to maintain and increase remittance flows. The global economic crisis will make strengthening and increasing immigrant participation in remittance-matching programs a top priority for Mexico and El Salvador. It is in increased collaboration and incentives that the policy-making empowerment of the diaspora will manifest itself.

Home country governments will no doubt be watching their external populations and work to strengthen their organization and collaboration efforts. Whether diasporas are able to mobilize their collective economic efforts is yet to be seen, but Mexico and El Salvador offer examples of how diasporas can translate remittances to the political arena. The economic slowdown will only increase pressure on governments to preserve remittance levels and voluntarily strengthen their diasporas. In countries that lack full political accountability, this is particularly significant, as their institutions are measured against the developed world’s institutional apparatus. The pressure to catch up economically will lead to a pressure to converge at the institutional and political level. Mexico and El Salvador are already showing signs of change, with more to undoubtedly follow.

Mexico and El Salvador’s diasporas are at an advanced stage of transnational engagement with their governments, but the global economic crisis may prove to be the catalyst that ultimately legitimizes their role as stakeholders in a new Diaspora Consensus. Given that many immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador were driven from their homelands due to conditions of poverty and civil strife, the fact that they now wield such influence, and are gaining more power in their home countries, shows a globalized expansion of the traditional meaning of self-determination as a result of an increasingly globalized world economy.

The following data is based on World Bank Remittance Data and IMF country data. http://peoplemove.worldbank.org/en/content/remittance-flows-to-developing-countries

Mexico and El Salvador Remittance Levels

Mexico Remittances
(Millions)
GDP
(Billions)
Remittances/
GDP (Percent)
GDP Yearly
Growth (Percent
Population
1990 3,098 262710 1.18% 5.068 83.226
1991 3,030 314507 0.96% 4.222 84.793
1992 3,700 363661 1.02% 3.629 86.369
1993 3,979 441777 0.90% 1.951 87.954
1994 4,122 462023 0.89% 4.415 98.546
1995 4,368 314115 1.39% -6.161 91.145
1996 4,949 364720 1.36% 5.153 92.571
1997 5,546 434230 1.28% 6.772 93.926
1998 6,501 455589 1.43% 4.907 95.251
1999 6,649 520445 1.28% 3.873 96.584
2000 7,525 628854 1.20% 6.602 97.966
2001 10,146 672823 1.51% -0.157 98.994
2002 11,029 702022 1.57% 0.827 100.002
2003 16,556 700324 2.36% 1.684 101.021
2004 19,861 759422 2.62% 3.996 102.050
2005 23,062 846990 2.72% 3.130 103.089
2006 26,877 948861 2.83% 4.906 104.221
2007 27,144 1,022,816 2.65% 3.199 105.264
2008 26,212 1,142,629 2.29% 2.051 106.316

 

El Salvador

El
Salvador
Remittances
(Millions)
GDP
(Millions)
Remittances/
GDP (Percent)
GDP Yearly
Growth (Percent)
Population
1990 366 4,801 7.62% 4.83 5.11
1991 475 5,311 8.94% 3.58 5.207
1992 694 5955 11.65% 7.55 5.314
1993 796 6938 11.47% 7.37 5.429
1994 972 8086 12.02% 6.05 5.548
1995 1,064 9500 11.20% 6.40 5.669
1996 1,084 10316 10.51% 1.71 5.787
1997 1,199 11135 10.77% 4.25 5.908
1998 1,340 12008 11.16% 3.75 6.031
1999 1,387 12465 11.13% 3.45 6.154
2000 1,765 13134 13.44% 2.15 6.276
2001 1,926 13813 13.94% 1.71 6.397
2002 1,953 14307 13.65% 2.34 6.518
2003 2,122 15047 14.10% 2.30 6.639
2004 2,564 15798 16.23% 1.85 6.765
2005 3,030 17070 17.75% 3.09 6.887
2006 3,485 18654 18.68% 4.18 7.011
2007 3,711 20373 18.22% 4.65 7.13
2008 3,804 22284 17.07% 3.00 7.251
 

Notes & References

  1. Inter-American Development Bank & Multilateral Investment Fund Report: Remittances in Times of Financial Instability. 16 March 2009 (herein described as “IBD 2009 Report”) .
  2. Maimbo, Samuel Munzele, and Dilip Ratha, eds. Remittances: Development Impact and Future Prospects (Chicago: World Bank Publications, 2005) Ratha Chapter, pp. 24–25.
  3. Author’s calculations based on IMF and World Bank figures.
  4. Multilateral Investment Fund. Mexico and Remittances: Country Snapshot. .
  5. Maimbo and Ratha. Orozco Chapter. p. 323.
  6. IBD 2009 Report. p.7.
  7. Maimbo and Ratha, Ratha Chapter. p. 28.
  8. Maimbo and Ratha. Kapur Chapter. p. 350.
  9. “US Citizen in Mexico’s Congress,” Los Angeles Times. 11 July, 2003.
  10. Orozco, Manuel, and Rebecca Rouse. “Migrant Hometown Associations and Opportunities for Development: A Global Perspective.” Migration Policy Institute: Migration Information Source (2007), 10 Jan. 2009 .
  11. Maimbo and Ratha. Orozco Chapter. p. 323.
  12. Maimbo and Ratha. Orozco Chapter. p. 325.
  13. Maimbo and Ratha. Orozco Chapter. p. 327.
  14. Fitzgerald credits an early lobby movement in the US aimed at assisting Benito Juarez during the 1860’s. Middlebrook, Kevin J., ed. Dilemmas of Political Change in Mexico. (New York: Institute of Latin American Studies, 2003.) p. 524.
  15. Levy, Daniel C., Kathleen Bruhn, and Emilio Zebadua. Mexico: The Struggle for Democratic Development. (New York: University of California, 2006) p.32.
  16. Shirk, David A. Mexico’s New Politics: The PAN and Democratic Change. (New York: Lynne Rienner, Incorporated, 2004.)
  17. 17 2006 Pew Hispanic Center Survey. [Survey conducted prior to election. Paper assumes actual vote tally mirrors or is close to Pew Survey data.] .
  18. Middlebrook. Fitzgerald Chapter. p. 499.
  19. World Bank Staff Estimates based on IMF Balance of Payments Yearbook 2008. From “People Move” Official World Bank Blog .
  20. La Prensa Grafica: 29 May 2004 .
  21. Mexico and El Salvador populations based on IMF country data. Diaspora populations based on Pew Hispanic Center estimates.
  22. Maimbo and Ratha. Orozco Chapter. p. 328.
  23. “Mexican Voting May Extend into the US,” Los Angeles Times 29 June, 2005.
  24. Chapter 16: “For 118 Million Mexicans: Emigrants and Chicanos in Mexican Politics” by David Fitzgerald in Middlebrook, Kevin J., ed. Dilemmas of Political Change in Mexico (New York: Institute of Latin American Studies, 2003).
  25. “Tense El Salvador Election Evokes War Memories” Reuters March 15, 2009.
  26. Author’s own estimates, based on 4 million registered voters reported, 40,000 diaspora voters estimated, and Funes’s reported 51.3% victory.
  27. According to a 2006 Pew Hispanic Center Survey .
  28. “The Financial Storm Hits Mexico,” Wall Street Journal 9 March, 2009.
  29. “Left Turn: El Salvador’s Presidential Election,” The Economist March 19, 2009; “El Salvador Joins Latin America’s Leftward Tilt,” Christian Science Monitor 17 March, 2009.
  30. Inter-American Development Bank & Multilateral Investment Fund Report: Remittances in Times of Financial Instability. 16 March 16, 2009. p. 5.
  31. IDB-MIF 2009 Report. p. 2.
Roberto Peña is an M.A. candidate in International Relations, concentrating in Western Hemisphere Studies and International Economics with a specialization in Emerging Markets. He previously worked as a legislative aide in the US Congress for six years. His policy work focused on immigration, community development, crime and punishment, and poverty issues. He has worked extensively with immigrant and minority advocacy organizations and has participated in numerous national and international political campaigns.