With the elections in the country fast approaching, immigration is the most talked about topic all over the world. The issue of the “undocumented” immigrant, which is the new name for “illegal immigrants” is a major topic of discussion. Most of the people want a stable immigration policy and are waiting for new immigration reforms to be announced.
Even when much is spoken about illegal Mexicans in America, little thought is being given to several Americans living illegally in Mexico. However, Mexicans have so far not made a big issue out of it. According to an immigrant who left the U.S in 2011 for a job in Mexico, she found herself without any status soon. The American immigrant was working for a Mexican company legally in the tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta, in the Pacific coast. However, she took up another job to make ends meet, but her American employers did not fill in the necessary paperwork to make her second job legal.
They also insisted that they would pay her in cash every day and that it would be alright. Though she knew that this was illegal, she did not take the Mexican authorities seriously. When her American employers were in legal trouble, she thought she would be facing deportation soon, so she quit her job with them.
According to Mexican authorities, there were several irregularities in the immigration statuses of over 1000 U.S. citizens. There is also a modest fine of $50 if illegal immigrants were found working without a permit or if they were found living without a permit. There were still others who were asked to leave the country after they lost their visas. But if they do not leave and overstay they are fined about $400. However, the National Migration Institute in Mexico doesn’t have an idea as to how many Americans are living and working in Mexico illegally.
There are also no groups to defend the American aliens in Mexico. Also, politicians are not raising a hue and cry over this issue, as against their American counterparts who raise their collective voices over illegal immigration from Mexico. With thousands crossing the border from American into Mexico, the presence of illegal Americans has become a big issue for Mexican immigration services.
As per the National Institute of Anthropology and History, some American tourists stay back in Mexico. There are also American students who extend their stay to earn extra income by teaching English. There are many who love the life style in this part of the country and decide to stay back without informing the Mexican authorities. According to Monica Mora, an expert on American migration to Mexico, says that most people live for a while in Mexico and then return home. However, nowadays most of the Americans live legally and work for multinational companies for a couple of years, she added. Mrs. Mora is also a researcher at the National institute of Anthropology and History.
According to Mexican census of 2010, over 738,000 U.S. born people live in Mexico. Of these, about 60,000 live in the country indefinitely, the rest are temporary visitors and legal employees of international companies. Tropical weather and exotic atmosphere are the main reasons for Americans who are lured here. They are the largest foreign group in Mexico now, according to Mexicans.
Elaine Levin, an expert on international migration, migrated to Mexico 40 years ago and now has a Mexican nationality. According to Levin, though thousands of Americans live a comfortable life in Mexico, it is in direct contrast to the harsh immigration legislation Mexicans face in the U.S.
“Some people might think twice before going to some areas, but that hasn’t happened yet,” she adds.
Even though US tourist numbers dropped 6% last year, towns like San Miguel de Allende are still full of American-run businesses and home owners from the US.
Warm weather and an exotic lifestyle tempt some Americans south of the border
Some Americans in Mexico are beginning to see a different side of the immigration debate.
“I used to live in a large Mexican community, in Chicago. I always knew some of them were illegal and wondered how they could get away with it,” Jessica says.
She’s now legally entitled to stay in the country and is living in Mexico City.
“After my experience here I have come to support more illegal immigration. At the end of the day I would imagine most illegals have good intentions, working to support their family, wanting a new life,” she says.
“I don’t think we should make it so hard for people to get that. Isn’t that what America is all about anyway, freedom?”