MEXICO CITY — Republican nominee Donald Trump's continuing tirade against Mexicans have set off alarms on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. But are his prejudices rooted in any fact? Not at all, if you consider recent studies that measure contributions made by Mexican immigrants in the U.S.
One study by Mexican economist J. Cervantes and his assistant C. Sánchez at the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies, or CEMLA, identified a profile of these immigrants. It found that most Mexicans who leave Mexico head for the U.S. Almost as many women as men migrate to Mexico's northern neighbor. These women make up a strong component of the U.S. labor market, followed by women from China and the Philippines. The number of female Mexican immigrants engaged in full-time work in the U.S. has steadily increased since 2010.
U.S. citizens of Mexican origin — 35.8 million people — earned $563 billion in 2015, a figure that exceeded the gross domestic product (GDP) of several Latin American, Asian and European countries. Mexican immigrants without citizenship working in the U.S. — there are about 11.6 million of them — earned $239 billion the same year.
In total, that's $802 billion, which was 70% of Mexico's gross domestic product in 2015. This is significant for the U.S. economy but also for Mexico's economy as it receives 10% of these earnings in remittances, fueling a domestic consumer market.
When Trump's running mate Mike Pence quipped about "that Mexican thing" during the vice-presidential debate on Oct. 4 to refer to Trump's controversial anti-immigrant stances and plans to build a wall at the border, he should have considered the contributions Mexicans make to the U.S. economy. We are proud of them.