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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - The World Economy
Title How do migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean fare in the US labour market?
Volume 30
Issue 9
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
Page numbers 1399-1429
URL http://www.columbia.edu/~flr9/documents/World Economy Paper Published 2007.pdf
MIGRATION from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to the United States
has exploded in recent years. Since 1990, over 10 million migrants from
the region have become residents of the United States, with three million of these
settling in the country just in the period of 2000 to 2005. Inflows of legal
immigrants have been at record levels, with an average of over 400,000
persons born in LAC admitted to the US each year as legal permanent residents
over the last 15 years. To these, one must add the hundreds of thousands of
undocumented workers – mostly from Mexico and Central America – who have
successfully crossed the border. Estimates are that in recent years over 300,000
undocumented workers from the region have entered the United States on a net
basis each year.
The money these migrants send to the region has become a major source of
income for families back home. According to the World Bank (2007), more than
$87 billion were received by Latin American and Caribbean countries in 2004 in
the form of migrant remittances. For some countries, the income received from
the services of workers abroad (mostly in the US) is now a major item of the
balance of payments. For El Salvador, for example, migrant remittances are equal
to 78 per cent of merchandise exports. In Guatemala, the corresponding amount is
93 per cent, in the Dominican Republic it is 44 per cent and in Mexico nine per cent.

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