Mexicans and Mexican-Americans working in the U.S. sent a record sum of money to the southern country despite the staggering blows the U.S. economy took due to the pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from Mexico’s central bank.
During the first 11 months of the year, people in the United States sent $36.9 billion to Mexico, WSJ reported, citing data released by the Banco de Mexico. The prior record for a full 12 months of remittances during a calendar year was $36.4 billion in 2019. December 2020 data does not appear to be available.
In just one month — July 2020 — people in the U.S. sent $3.53 billion to parties in Mexico, up from $3.29 billion in July 2019, according to reports.
According to WSJ, remittances also appear to be up for 2020 compared to 2019 in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Experts offered several reasons for strong remittances despite the pandemic’s effect on the U.S. economy.
One reason is that much of the work performed in the U.S. by Mexican immigrants continued in 2020, especially in the agricultural and construction sectors, WSJ reported. Another reason was that stricter limits on border crossings compelled workers who typically would ferry cash home personally to instead send it electronically. Electronic-fund-transfer systems are much more easily tracked.
Other reasons suggested included the availability of unemployment compensation benefits to some Mexicans who wouldn’t qualify under normal circumstances and the dire need for funds among Mexican households due to the limited scope of the country’s pandemic relief efforts.