April 3, 2006


Making American Money at Home in Mexico: Ample Jobs in Tourism Lure Workers to Cancun, Far From U.S. Border and Debate on Immigration (Manuel Roig-Franzia, April 3, 2006, Washington Post)

There was a time when Jose Luis Luevano could envision making real money -- feeding-the-family, paying-the-rent money -- only in El Norte, or the United States.

Every nine months or so, he stuffed a backpack at his home in San Luis Potosi, a sooty industrial town at the northern rim of Mexico's high central plateau, and went north. He liked the cash he earned when he slipped illegally across the border. But he hated the journey. And he hated being away from his family more.

Then, six years ago, someone told him about Cancun. Real money could be found there, too, they said. American money without having to go to the United States.

He never went to El Norte again.

Luevano, 30, a taxi driver who also operates a small catering business here, is still a migrant, but a migrant of another sort. While President Bush met last week with his Mexican counterpart, Vicente Fox, in this seaside resort, tens of thousands of Mexican migrants drawn here by the promise of a steady paycheck drove the cabs, served the tropical drinks and managed the front desks.

These workers are simultaneously dependent on the United States, for the tourists who make this place a huge economic engine, and independent from their richer northern neighbor, because they don't feel the need to leave their country to make a living.

There's an idea for Tom Tancredo. The same way Robert Byrd spent decades transferring Washington to West Virginia, the congressman could fight to locate new federal offices and agencies in Mexico to create jobs there.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 3, 2006 8:54 AM

Tom would demand an "English Only" clause in the deal before he'd let the federal jobs go south of the border.

Posted by: John at April 3, 2006 9:31 AM

Told ya, buy up the interior for senior citizens communities.

Posted by: Sandy P at April 3, 2006 11:08 AM

Sandy, I'm waiting for beachfront property in Cuba to come on the market although I love Mexico too.

Cuban friends have told us how beautiful it is and it's all just waiting to be developed. I'll bet the uber-rich lefties have already put in their dibs. Great place to find workers too. Afterall, there's 99.99% literacy and with their great nationalized health care, Cubans are already healthy and wise, now all they need is the wealthy part. That's where freedom and capitalism come in.

Posted by: erp at April 3, 2006 2:15 PM

From the article: "We don't want to go there, to the U.S.," said Gabriela Rodriguez, the secretary of tourism for the state of Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun and the Mayan Riviera towns. "We want the U.S. to come here. Here, it's the reverse."

So the solutions are either Mexicans leave Mexico and come to the US, or Americans leave the US and come to Mexico? Not to point out the obvious, but many Americans are able to stay in America and get good jobs; perhaps Mexico should be aiming at that goal, improving its own economy and lessening its own corruption, and leave all this mass migration for the birds?

Posted by: Just John at April 3, 2006 2:41 PM

Just combine the two countries and folks will have freedom of movement.

Posted by: oj at April 3, 2006 2:46 PM

maybe an arrangement like we have with PR.

Posted by: toe at April 3, 2006 6:56 PM