I married a Mexican woman in February of 2016. When I say Lourdes, my wife, is Mexican, I mean she was born in Mexico and lived in Mexico until we were married. Not like the Indiana born judge that Trump called an unfair “Mexican”. Lourdes has a 17 year old daughter, Ingrid, and a 26 year old son, Guillermo. Ingrid immigrated with Lourdes when she immigrated and Guillermo had to remain in Mexico.
Lourdes was middle class for a Mexican, but poor for an American. She was a paralegal for the federal court in Nuevo Laredo and only had to take occasional side jobs to pay the bills. Lourdes raised both of her children with no child support paid by her ex-husband. She has a house (800 sq ft, one bathroom) that we are still making the mortgage payments on. She was able to hustle and get Ingrid a scholarship to a private school. Ingrid who only attended Spanish speaking schools in Mexico is getting nearly all A’s here in the US–the exception, a high B in biology, but an A in English with regular old American kids.
Guillermo is attending university in Mexico for industrial engineering and has an internship with Kia in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. Guillermo’s rent is 3800 pesos–$190 USD. I don’t know what the internship pays. I don’t think it is a lot and I did not ask. Besides the internship he also Ubers. I can’t imagine he can make much money at it since gasoline in Mexico is over $3.50 USD per gallon. It used to be cheaper and they are now having riots and protests in Mexico over it.
Lourdes, Ingrid, and I travelled to Mexico after Navidad (Christmas) for Nuevo Año (New Year’s). I asked Guillermo how much employers pay at somewhere like McDonald’s in Mexico. He said he has friends in Mexico who work there, and for 48 hours a week, they bring home something like 800-900 pesos…or $40-$45 USD. If rent is 3800 peso, then a job at McDonald’s is not going to cut it. It takes both people working generally and some with two jobs and not just one. The other thing is that food is cheaper in Mexico, but not that cheap. It’s half price on some things, maybe a little cheaper on local produce, but meat is not a great deal. If you try to buy McDonald’s, it is going to be 60% of the US price–but the wages for the worker is a net of less than $1 per hour.
When I travel to Mexico, I see how blessed my life in the US is.