“Nearly 3 million Hispanics were employed in the U.S. housing industry in 2006, according to a study by the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center. Three-quarters of them were foreign-born. Nearly 30 percent had been in the United States six years or less.”

U.S. housing pinch means less money going home to Mexico
Seattle Times
April 29, 2007

MEXICO CITY â?? When California’s housing market was booming, Lucretia Diaz could feel the good vibrations 2,200 miles away in her rural hamlet in southern Mexico.

Her husband, Carlos Romero, an illegal immigrant living in Los Angeles, wired her $600 a month from his labors hanging drywall and pounding roof nails. The remittances bought meat for the tacos, new sneakers for the kids and a few extras for the family’s home in tiny Juquila, Oaxaca.

No more. With U.S. homebuilding in the dumps, Romero is working sporadically and sending little money. Diaz and her three young boys are eating rice and beans. She is watching every centavo.

So are economists who track this crucial southward flow of currency. They are worried by what they see.

Remittances are the financial lifeblood for millions of Mexican families and a critical source of foreign exchange for their government. The $23 billion that maids, cooks and gardeners sent home last year â?? almost all from the U.S. â?? topped the amount that multinationals invested in Mexico. But fallout from the U.S. construction industry, which employs one in five Hispanic immigrants, is now rippling south of the border. Growth in remittances to Mexico has slowed to a trickle.

After increasing an average of just more than 23 percent a year since 2000, remittances for the first two months of 2007 were just 5.5 percent ahead of the same period last year, according to Mexico’s central bank. The figure peaked in May 2006 at $2.3 billion and has drifted downward ever since.

Analysts say tougher border enforcement and workplace crackdowns by U.S. immigration authorities may be playing a role. Still, the remittance slowdown has moved virtually in lock step with the stumble in U.S. homebuilding. Housing starts hit their 2006 peak in May before tumbling 50 percent by year-end.

Mexico isn’t the only country feeling the effect. Growth in money wired to Guatemala, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and other Latin American nations has followed the housing market down.

Romero, who has been in the U.S. 10 years, hasn’t had steady construction work in six months, and the jobs he has found pay a lot less than they used to. A buddy just gave him a tip about a night position at a Los Angeles restaurant. He isn’t thrilled at the prospect of washing dishes or slinging hash on the graveyard shift. But Romero is running out of options.

“Even one day without work is bad. I’ve gone four days without work already this week,” the 38-year-old said anxiously by telephone from Los Angeles recently. “The situation is very bad for me and my family.”…..

To read entire article click here.

15 Responses to “US Housing Slump Means Less Money To Mexico”
  1. Eddie B. says:

    “Romero, who has been in the U.S. 10 years, hasnâ??t had steady construction work in six months”…

    So now he knows how American contruction workers feel. Go home and rebuild Mexico. It is not like you don’t have 35 or 40 million fixer uppers down there.


  2. Brad says:

    Amen Eddie B

  3. Matthew says:

    I have seen more and more illegals selling flowers and diced up fruit on the street corners lately, more so in the last month or two. Kind of frightening yet revealing how the illegals who built my Centex home went from assembling structures to the next best skill they know, selling fruit and flowers on a street corner.

    I call the Police and local Border Patrol here in Murrieta whenever i see them more than likely passing e coli on to unsuspecting Americans who may happen to buy their home processed fruit, but the Police are too scarred to confront them and the BP have openly admitted to me to not being able to confront them because of “Politics” (Actually PC). I guess Foreign nationals are exempt from American law and order.

    Riverside county code enforcement stated to me that illegal street vending is a very big problem within the county, and that it is due to the slowing housing market. I can only encourage all of us to continually call the authority’s whenever we see illegals out vending on the street corner. Kick them hard while they are down and maybe just maybe us Americans can make up for the willful failure of our government to get them off of our streets and force them back to mexico.

  4. George(formerly-Ed) says:

    Yeah I heard that Matthew.I love the part about Mexicos remittance dropping like a rock.Oh gee I feel so bad for poor that 38 year old cocka roach.Now when we can truely be happy is when we see these cocka roaches digging in garbage cans looking for their next meal.

  5. stoney says:

    Aw gee I feel so bad for illegal workers being unemployed i could almost cry (first I would have to quit laughing).
    Nowhere in this article do I detect any symphony or even so much a mention of any Legal USA citizen worker having a hard time, before due to influx of illegal workers or any mention of citizen that is unemployed by slump (if any still work in construction and not run off by illegals).

  6. Minutewoman says:

    Matthew, I don’t know if this is an “urban legend” but I heard that a lot of those street flower vendors steal the flowers from cemeteries at night and sell them to us fools the next day.

  7. Matthew says:


    It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the illegals hopped some cemetery fence at night, stole the flowers and resold them to unsuspecting customers. Again i would not put anything past them because what would stop them from being criminals as they are criminals each and every day they are here “illegally”. Illegality comes with being illegal and there is no honor whatsoever in being a second class citizen.

  8. 1Madmomma says:

    The only difference between them being unemployed and us, is that it is easier for them to get on welfare. I’ve thought for awhile now that our Social Service offices employ mostly mexicans and they will push paperwork thru for thereown before anyone else. Our tax dollars help them rather than our own. The govanator still hasn’t answered my letter. I guess he’s to busy kissing some brown ass.

  9. BEADALONG says:

    1MadMomma, oh the Gov hasn’t answered your letters either, eh? Same here.

    I’ve written him several times (one included) my hubby’s ignored Worker’s Comp Issue with his injured nerve in his R arm which has gone on now for about some 3.5 years now.

    In the meantime, he bailed out those illegal farmworkers during the freeze and I believe illegal women still get free childbirth, etc.

    I’ve also written other politicians including Lofgren (who I’ve found out) in the past several months is an “Immigration Lawyer”. Needless to say, we didn’t get very far with her either.

    We’re trying Poizner now. Who knows?

    I just wish they’d start representing us instead of every Juan, Jose and Raul.

  10. BEADALONG says:


    Local Students Head To Mexico To Build Homes
    Apr. 27 - A South Bay High school is celebrating a remarkable anniversary: fifteen years of building homes for low income families in Mexico. The project started with just a handful of students and has grown beyond its founders’ wildest dreams.

    This is an annual spring ritual at the King’s Academy in Sunnyvale. Hundreds of eager high school students load up supplies and head to Mexico to build houses.

    Austin Ghiossi, high school senior: “It’s a great experience showing what high school students and a group of adults can do for a family and really just change a group of people’s lives.”

    The King’s Academy is a non-denominational Christian school. The trip is not required, but almost the entire student body volunteers anyway.

    They head to Mexico in a caravan of 90 cars. Along the way, they video their adventure. This year, they’re sharing their tape with ABC7 News. The students are heading for Tecate, Mexico, just across the border, east of Tijuana.

    Anthony Laurel, high school senior: “First time I went down there, I was definitely blown away by the immense poverty we have so close to home. You know you go across the border and it’s just like wow, did I, am I even on the same continent any more.”

    Kelli Parham, high school freshman: “The houses were like made out of doors, and I saw this one house, it was made out of leaves and it was barely standing up on its own.”

    During their stay in Mexico, the volunteers live in a huge tent city. The adults cook and serve meals, the kids do the building.

    In 1972, the first year the King’s Academy made this trip, they brought 30 volunteers and barely finished one house. They’ve grown a lot since then. This year they’ve brought 400 students and 125 adult volunteers and they’ve learned how to do it all.

    Garrett Kray high school sophomore: “Sheetrock, saw saw, chop saw, skill saw, hammering. All the good stuff, rafters, roofing, shingles, you know — everything.”

    The group will work for three and a half days, building 18 houses.

    Joel Landis, high school senior: “Three room houses, with, we’re going to put electrical and drywall in for them and then there’s going to be a little loft.”

    In addition to the houses, the volunteers are building a dormitory for an orphanage. Ken LaPoint is guiding that project.

    Ken LaPoint, volunteer: “There’s a huge need, not only for a place to live, but for them to have a place to live, but for them to have hope and some sort of future, some training, some ability to get job skills.”

    Ken came as a parent on the trips in the early years, but he quickly decided once a year was not enough. Now he leads other groups as well.

    Ken LaPoint, volunteer: “We ended up starting an organization called Casabuilders and we go down many times a year, at least once a month, build homes, build churches, work with kids in an orphanage. ”

    For most student volunteers, the highlight is getting to know the families. They run a kids club for the children, and visit with them all day long while they are working.

    When the houses are finished, there’s a dedication ceremony, the new owner gets the key and a long round of hugs.

    Malcom Alugis high school junior: “The language wasn’t really a boundary for us. We really got to see the tears from them. We got to know that they were thankful. So it was a blessing.”

    Anthony Laurel: “When we go down there, we completely sacrifice ourselves for somebody else. You get that feeling in your heart that says - wow, I’ve been able to help somebody. That’s just amazing and you never forget it.”

    So tonight we salute the volunteers of the King’s Academy who, in the last 15 years, have built homes for 170 families in Mexico.

    To learn more about The King’s Academy:

    To learn more about Casabuilders, the home building organization that grew out of the King’s Academy service program:

    Written and produced by Jennifer Olney
    Copyright 2007, ABC7/KGO-TV/DT.

  11. Vincent Narodnik says:

    I heard China’s hiring also.

  12. George(formerly-Ed) says:

    Yeah Minutewoman it is true I read it many years ago in the long beach news paper they were also steling the head stone and busting them into little pieces so it is probably still going on.

  13. George(formerly-Ed) says:

    MY daughters was dating the son of a doctor & while out for diner he told us that every sommer his mom,Dad & kids go to tjawana (I am not mexican so I dont know how to spell that town) to build houses for poor Mexicans I asked him Why dont you stay in the U.S.and help biuld houses for poor Americans,NO answer. Just like these movie stars they adopt babies from every poor country in the world except Kids here in the U.S.I gues American kids in orphenages are
    not good enough to love and care for.

  14. Flack Jacket says:

    Hello all, did you know the 2nd richest man in the world is a Mexican citizen? He has almost all control of their telephone service. Seems he would have struck a deal with his government to improve his country, but so far I’ve not seen it.
    I do not understand our leaders inactivity ref illegals but clearly see their wealth iincreasing w/them being here. If we boycotted every busn that donated even one penny to the enrichment of Mexico I have a feeling we would see immediate changes, here & there. If we kicked out of office every politician that wants to make some type amnesty bill for illegals I’m sure we would see change. But we sit back and allow them to sell of our country and what can’t be sold is over loaded to the point of collapse. I wonder if their hand even touched the bible during their swearing in?

    Have a GR8 day tomorrow and give immigration a call every time you know an an illegal’s where-abouts. They may not pick em up, but they will know we are watching and keeping score.

  15. 1Madmomma says:

    Wish we could reform our gov’t. All at once. When we vote, we already know we are picking what we hope will be, the lesser of two evils. Sad state of affairs were in!

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