Latin American immigrants have been surprised about sending remittances to their countries, especially Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no report that indicates how many immigrant transactions are carried out by undocumented persons, who have been denied any financial support by the United States Congress, despite the fact that they have been essential workers.
However, as regards the sending of funds abroad by immigrants in general, that is, those with work visas, “green cards” or naturalized, they have exceeded the expectations even of the World Bank.
“Last year, despite the data provided by the World Bank, which expected a decrease in the sending of money, because it was practically the opposite”, He said Ana González, Alliance Manager for WorldRemit. “[Fue] a growth of approximately $ 100 billion dollars, which represented an increase of eight percent compared to 2019 ”.
It is expected that during May there will be a record in sending money, while employment reports highlight that, for example, Mexican immigrants recovered their jobs almost to the same level as before the pandemic.
“What we are waiting for in May … we have already seen an upward trend … We all know that one of the highest seasons in sending money is in the month of May, which is Mother’s Day”added the expert. “An increase between one and 1.2 million transfers is estimated compared to the rest of other months”.
He added that in the case of Mexico the crucial days are May 5 and 10, but this weekend transfers were expected in other Latin American countries where Mother’s Day is celebrated this Sunday.
Although the improvement in transactions is concentrated in May, there is also an increase in December, which also occurred in 2020, despite the pandemic.
“The highest months last year were April and May, but we also saw an increase in December,” González said.
Greater confidence in transfers
In sending remittances in Mexico there was greater reliance on wire transfers, since 99.3% of the remittances were through this means, while 0.4% by payment orders and 0.2% in cash, indicated the Bank of Mexico.
González indicates that this trend is reflected in most Latin American countries.
“There is something that has happened this year, it has accelerated the way of sending money to digital media”, he said, referring to the pandemic forcing people to look for simpler and safer options. “That has contributed to growth between February and March. In Guatemala, the increase was 12.6 percent compared to 2020 ”.
He also mentioned other countries in Central America, where people are relying more on transfers from platforms.
“Security, we are all aware that you send the money safely and that your country receives it safely”, he pointed. “Also another factor is speed, we all hope that when we send the money it will be received almost immediately.”
And the undocumented?
Although they did not stop working during the pandemic, these essential workers have not been properly recognized with federal financial support.
A report from the Center for Public Integrity indicated, for example, that 9 out of 10 undocumented workers work in the agricultural industry and as food processors, of which 43% are people without papers.
“Nearly nine out of 10 of immigrant farmworkers and food processors are Latino.”, says the report.
So far, the only states that have created specific funds to help the undocumented are California, where the aid has already been sent, plus New York and New Jersey, where up to $ 15,600 and $ 2,000 will be awarded, respectively.
The economic stimulus checks were possible for immigrants with a green card or a work permit, but not for the undocumented.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.