Ask a Mexican

 Ask a Mexican

Recently, more foreigners with remote jobs from their home country have found themselves living in Mexico which has started the conversation on whether they are gentrifying the country or helping raise the economy. What do you think?

Cesar Trujillo, 41, consultant. 

I don’t really think we need that many foreigners here making our rent prices go up and on top of that, being conceited. Some people order in English and get mad when I don’t understand them. They’re in my country. Why can’t they learn the language? That’s unfair. If we go to the U.S., we’re expected to speak English. If you want to go to a foreign country for lower rent while you work remotely, be my guest. But, it’s your job to learn the local language. And if you’re going to take advantage of living in a cheap country with an expensive salary, do something to give back to the community you’re gentrifying. 

Diana Macías, 32, economist. 

It’s a bunch of Californians taking advantage of lower costs; it takes $2,500 a month in salary in Tijuana to have a $6,500 standard of living from San Diego. The cost of living is 62% lower, so people are just commuting across the San Ysidro border. A bunch of people priced out of renting moved there because they could afford to while they save to buy a home. It started in the pandemic, but rents in Tijuana have doubled over the past decade, and the price of land has tripled. But it’s not just Americans. It’s also a lot of white-collar Mexicans who are working across the border and doing the same thing with their higher salaries. Most Americans aren’t trying to buy homes there, and it seems like they’re not impacting overall rents because they’re isolating themselves to safer, more affluent neighborhoods and the effect isn’t spilling beyond them so, 100% gentrifying them and limiting Mexicans trying to move up and into safer places.

Fabian Lopez, 47, pharmacist. 

I think one of the main points here is healthcare. It’s almost certainly going to be cheaper in Mexico than in the US. I don’t think Americans realize that their healthcare system is literally uniquely built to hurt them pretty bad financially more than almost every other country. If they’re in rich neighborhoods in Mexico City with American money, they can easily get American-level quality care and still have it cheaper than back home. American healthcare is systematically flawed, and somehow costs Americans more in taxes per person than most countries where citizens don’t have to pay a dime for treatment. At the end of the day, we all look for a better quality of life. 

Julia Bautista, 56, cook. 

I’m all for welcoming our neighbors. Mexico has always welcomed immigrants fleeing harsh economic conditions in other countries. That I know we are. I grew up with a very diverse set of cultures around me in Sonora. Mexican Asians and Cubans migrated in the 70s I believe. I didn’t experience or know what racism was until I travelled to the US at 8 years old. They come here for a better living. We go over there for the same reason. 

Sandra Padilla, 28, logistics. 

Can you really blame them though? If someone says, “Hey. It would be much cheaper for you to live here!” are you just going to ignore them? People ignore the impact of tough ethical decisions every day for either the sake of convenience or survival. The cost of housing has become a nightmare, and then we complain when someone actually buys a property they can afford. That’s so hypocritical. The housing market is ugly now. We should blame megacorporations for snatching up property in ghost bids, not the average person just needing a place to live.

Isabel García, 25, student. 

I think it’s not the foreigners who are gentrifying but the few Mexicans who sell their houses to companies that build apartment buildings and stack 50 times more people than there should be per square meter. It’s really not that many foreigners when you do the math, and most of them just want a little more sunshine, a little more joy in their lives which they can’t get back home, good tacos and to buy fresh fruit with chile and lime on the street. ,