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For Hondurans, Cash from US Is Lifeline

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发表于 6 天前 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Ryan Dube, For Hondurans, Cash from US Is Lifeline; Efforts to stem illegal immigration threaten workers' remittances to Central America. Wall Street Journal, Aug 8, 2018.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-l ... -the-u-s-1533643200

Note:
(a) The report is locked behind paywall.

(b) "César Gutiérrez’s mother, an illegal immigrant who works at a Houston restaurant, sends a lot back to her native country.  A recent care package to her son included jeans, Nike sneakers, Samsung phones, a [motor]bike helmet, cans of Del Monte green beans, all of which are cheaper in the US."

Many Chinese have said the same, that products in US are cheaper than the same products in China -- and used iPhone as an example. It is counterintuitive (to me) but true for lots of merchandise (merchandise is a mass noun (a term used in www.oxforddictionaries.com), or uncountable noun).

(c) "In Honduras and El Salvador, remittances account for nearly one-fifth of economic output"
(i) The reporters misspeak: remittances do not account formare not part of, GDP. By definition, the "domestic product" in gross domestic product (GDP) means things produced within national boundaries. A statistic says it all:
Personal Remittances, Received (% of GDP). World Bank, undated.
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/BX.TRF.PWKR.DT.GD.ZS
(ii) Where Do Remittances Come into Play in the Formula for GDP?  StackExchange, Dec 1, 2014
https://economics.stackexchange. ... the-formula-for-gdp
(iii) By the same token, foreign aid is not part of recipient country's GDP. See
Borany Penh, Understanding the Aid to GDP Relation: Not a Piece of Cake. Huff Post, July 10 (updated on Sept 9), 2013 (blog)
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/b ... -to-_b_3575343.html
("Case in point: the myth that international assistance to Afghanistan accounts for over 90 percent (or sometimes 97 percent) of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). * * * The mix-up appears to revolve around the phrase 'accounts for.' In 2009/10 Afghanistan's GDP was $12.2 billion and international assistance (civilian and military) was $10.7 billion; in 2010/11 aid was $15.7 billion and GDP was $15.9 billion")

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A Lifeline in Honduras: Money From the U.S.

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras—César Gutiérrez’s mother, an illegal immigrant who works at a Houston restaurant, sends a lot back to her native country.

A recent care package to her son included jeans, Nike sneakers, Samsung phones, a [motor]bike helmet, cans of Del Monte green beans, all of which are cheaper in the U.S. She also sends cash, and Mr. Gutiérrez is using the money to build a roof over his garage and buy land for his mother’s new home in a nearby town.

“Thank god it’s going well for her,” mentioned Mr. Gutiérrez, who’s hoping to join her within the U.S. soon to help support his three young children. “You can help your family a lot by being there.”

Hundreds of thousands of Central Americans enter the U.S. illegally each year, many seeking jobs and higher income than they can earn back home.

The cash many send back, called remittances, can change the lives of their families who have stayed behind—buying new homes, paying for education and covering the monthly expenses. That money has become essential to the economies of Central America.

In Honduras and El Salvador, remittances account for nearly one-fifth of economic output, according to the World Bank. Cutting the migrant flow risks further economic deterioration that could spark even more migration, experts say.

In Honduras, where two-thirds of the country’s nine million people live in poverty, about one in 4 families receive remittances, said Manuel Orozco, a migration expert at the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank. Last year, they received on average sixteen transfers of $281 each, Mr. Orozco said.

Homeland Safety Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen recently met with officers from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico over ways to promote economic prosperity and discourage illegal immigration. The Department of Homeland Security said the officers discussed deepening cooperation to disrupt human smuggling, strengthening the local police forces and expanding the region’s ability to provide migrants with asylum.

The statement didn’t mention remittances, and the Department of Homeland Security didn’t respond to requests tp [sic; should be for] remark.

A State Department official said it doesn’t track remittance flows to Central America, but focuses on “promoting a safe, secure and prosperous region so people don’t really feel compelled to to emigrate.” The official said the U.S. is providing $2.6 billion in assistance to Central America for fiscal years 2015 to 2018 to improve the region’s safety, governance and economy.

Remittances, mainly from the U.S., are vital to millions of Latin American households, reaching a record $80 billion last year, according to the World Bank. While more than a third of that went to Mexico, the smaller Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, the so-called Northern Triangle, rely on remittances even more.

The money transfers soared in 2017 as migrants fearful of deportation sent home more of their savings, according to the World Bank. In El Salvador, remittances rose nearly 10% to $5.1 billion, and in Honduras 12% to $4.3 billion. In Guatemala, they rose 14% to $8.5 billion, or 12% of GDP.

A sharp rise in U.S. arrests of illegal immigrants has triggered alarm in Central America.

“If the remittances begin to decline, we’re going to have a serious problem because we don’t have enough dollars to maintain our trade deficit,” said Pedro Barquero, executve director of the Chamber of Commerce in the state where San Pedro Sula resides. “Our economy would be completely broken.”

Honduran immigrants in the U.S. totaled almost 600,000 in 2017, up from 109,000 in 1990, according to the United Nation’s Statistics Division. In 2017, there were almost three million migrants from the Northern Triangle in the U.S., up from 800,000 in 1990. The Pew Research Center estimates that 55% of the three million migrants in 2015 were undocumented.

“If young people see their neighbors doing better, that drives them [to migrate] because they want to have the same thing,” said Sixto Rodriguez, a Honduran advocate for immigrant rights.

Those that return speak of backbreaking work—but also rewards.

Geovani Calderon, 50 years previous, spent nearly a decade in Sacramento, Calif., working for a delivery company that allowed him to pay for his daughters’ private schiik in San Pedro Sula. He returned in 2015 with an American flag to remember his time in the U.S.

“It’s a thousand times better,” Mr. Calderon, who works as a driver in the city, said of life in the U.S. “You have a better life, and your family is better off as well because you’re helping.”

Not all have the same luck.

Another city resident, Luis Enrique Torres, has tried 5 times to reach the U.S. with no success. “Sometimes, I feel bad that I haven’t been able to give that opportunity to my kids,” Mr. Torres said as he wiped away tears. “It’s good to be in the United States.”

Mr. Gutierrez, who received the care package, agrees. He recalled how his mother used to struggle to get by in Honduras while selling food on the street. Now, in addition to the gifts and remittances she sends home, she is also saving money to bring him to the U.S.

“She said she wants to see me there too, working,” said Mr. Gutierrez. “You’ve got to take the risk.”

—Anthony Harrup contributed to this article.

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