A Yucatecan in search of the “American Dream” (a true story)

(Photo: laverdadnoticias.com)

Due to the lack of employment, Yucatecan Jesus Koyoc Pech, a young native of the municipality of Ucú in Yucatan, decided one day to pack up, kiss his brothers, sisters and parents goodbye, and board a bus bound for northern Mexico, with the objective of crossing the border into the United States.

Neither the weather, the desert sun, nor the threats of the border wall and the massive deportations ordered by President Donald Trump stopped this young man from Ucú Yucatan; and he arrived in the city of San Francisco, California, where a restaurant hired him immediately, as a dishwasher.

On a good day, José comes out of his shift with 100 dollars in his pocket (back in Yucatán, he had to work about 10-12 days to obtain the same amount). Most of his salary, Jesus sends to the family, because his priority is to be able to wire “some pesos” to his mother (who he refers to as my “old lady“), and to his brothers and sisters, so they can improve their standard of living down here in the Peninsula.

Marlene, Jesus’ older sister, stated that they were able to fulfill one of their dreams thanks to the 1,500 dollars her brother sends them every month. With this income, they have managed to save up to buy a piece of land where they have grown 100 lemon, 50 mandarin and 10 lime trees.

And so, agriculture became a new extra source of income for the Koyoc family, and without quitting their current jobs, the three brothers and the mother are responsible for cultivating and harvesting the citrus trees, in order to earn more money, and lead a more comfortable life.

However, the price Jesus had to pay in order to help the family economic situation, is to be far from his loved ones, living in a city where his only occupation is to work as many hours as possible, where he does not speak the language fluidly, and wondering if he will ever be able to go back to his “Tierra” in Ucú, Yucatán,

While his family, is hoping to see “Chuchito” (as they call Jesús) again sometime, to thank him personally, to kiss him and hug him… but until when? Nobody knows the answer to that question.

Photo: San Francisco Chronicle (Ilustrativa)

Yucatan has maintained its annual migration levels, since according to the latest statistics from the Pew Research Center, an average of 10,500 inhabitants of Yucatan travel to the United States every year in search of the American Dream. Which means that, an average of 28 Yucatecans (- 1.3 per hour -) try to cross the border in search of a better income opportunity.

According to information from the last quarter of 2018, more than 200,000 people originally from Yucatan are currently living in the United States, this figure represents 10 percent of the entire state population.

The presence of Yucatecans in the United States achieved a historic figure in terms of remittances, last year the state received from the migrants 246 million dollars (4 billion pesos), according to estimates by the Bank of Mexico (Banxico). This indicates that the countrymen sent each month, 33 million pesos on average, to more than six thousand families living in Yucatán.

Out of the 106 municipalities of the state, 51 of them receive remittances and only 13 generate the greatest economic benefit, with 90 percent of the income coming from the United States, among which Oxkutzcab, Ticul and Tekax stand out.

For this year, it is estimated remittances to reach five billion pesos, exceeding the figure of 2018.

The income received by families of migrants is divided into three sectors, those who use money for their own consumption, those who undertake agriculture or livestock and those who invest in the construction of restaurants and hotels, the latter concentrates on the southern part of Yucatan.

Every Yucatecan in the United States earns an average of 60 to 80 dollars (1,560 Mexican pesos) per day, so from the three states of the Peninsula, Yucatán was the one that received the most resources with 4 billion pesos, followed by 2.3 billion pesos for Quintana Roo and 1.1 billion pesos for Campeche.

 

TYT Newsroom with information from laverdadnoticias.com



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