Immigrants may contribute greatly to the U.S. economy, but they sure aren’t spending all their hard-earned money here.
According to the World Bank, immigrants, both legal and illegal, sent a record $148 billion back to their home countries in 2017, up $10 billion from the $138 billion sent the year before.
And that’s just a rough (and probably low) estimate.
A Pew Research analysis of the data found that Mexico was the top receiver of money earned in the United States, at slightly more than $30 billion in 2017. By comparison, money earned in Mexico and sent to the United States totaled less than $1.8 billion.
China came in second with $16.1 billion, and India at third with $11.7 billion.
Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the top three sending countries for U.S.-bound illegal aliens behind Mexico, received about $16 billion combined.
Though we know the numbers are increasing, it's hard to know exactly how much cash is being earned in the U.S. and sent to immigrants' home countries. Experts have pointed out that money earned illegally under the table, on top of going untaxed, is hard to keep track of.
According to Jessica Vaughan at the Center for Immigration Studies, this cash flow is also a big part of why illegal alien-sending nations like Honduras and El Salvador do little to curb the steady stream of migrants to the United States.
“The sums of money involved are huge, particularly as a share of GDP and personal income in the Central American countries. It offers a big clue as to why these countries are giving only token efforts to stem the tide of migrants to the United States, especially El Salvador and Honduras,” Vaughan said, as reported by the Washington Examiner.