Why Are Americans Moving to Mexico?

Mexico Drug War Doesn’t Stop Americans From Moving South of the Border

MÉRIDA, Mexico
Hey get a jump, they will eventually be owning the US anyway. Rational thoughts while observing the passing charade, I’m J.C.

Bill Engle is outside, sweating in work clothes while he oversees renovations to his colonial house in Mérida, Mexico. It sits on a street dubbed “Gringo Gulch,” a pretty row of baby blue, violet, and mustard facades where expatriates outnumber Mexicans.

Mexico drug war doesn't stop Americans from moving south of the border

Tourists enjoy the beach at the resort city of Cancun, Mexico in this photo taken on June 12, 2009…. Expand
Tourists enjoy the beach at the resort city of Cancun, Mexico in this photo taken on June 12, 2009. In towns far from the US border such as Mérida, Mexico’s drug wars seem like another world. In fact, according to a recent survey by the International Community Foundation, violence reduced the frequency or duration of trips to Mexico for only 7 percent of American retirees who live or travel frequently to Mexico. Collapse

“It is not the climate,” says Mr. Engle, explaining why he moved to the Yucatán Peninsula. “It is the people. It is the most welcoming place.”

Americans scared off by violence in Mexico? Not here.

In towns far from the US border such as Mérida, Mexico’s drug wars seem like another world. In fact, according to a recent survey by the International Community Foundation, violence reduced the frequency or duration of trips to Mexico for only 7 percent of American retirees who live or travel frequently to Mexico.

No one knows how many foreign retirees, entrepreneurs, and families relocated to Mérida in recent years, but judging from real estate deals, new members to the English-language library, and observations by locals, it is not a few – nor is it ebbing.


‘As Safe as Seattle’

“I feel more part of a community here and safer or as safe here as I did in Seattle,” says Martha Lindley, a retired chaplain and lawyer who moved here three years ago.

Of 5.25 million Americans living abroad, 1 million are estimated to live south of the border. Some communities, such as San Miguel de Allende (a Heritage Site in central Mexico), seem virtual US suburbs. Mérida is becoming a magnet as transplants rush to buy old mansions and haciendas from the 19th century boom in henequen (a fiber used to make rope).

“I do not feel any violence here,” says Dan Karnes, a retired lawyer from New Orleans who moved here last year. He purchased an 18th-century colonial mansion, last used as a warehouse, and on a recent day was overseeing workers digging a pool foundation and laying an oval courtyard. When done, Mr. Karnes will boast an 18,300-square-foot home.

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7 thoughts on “Why Are Americans Moving to Mexico?

  1. Jim, all of the good things about the city of Merida all sounds good. Just seems to me that this is taking the easy way out. Our country is a great country but if all our so-called Americans want to take the easy opt and move to this place instead of fighting for what is right here in America, then let them go. I too would love to live this lifestyle right now, but I would never give up what I’m fighting for. This is my Country and I intend to keep it that way. I will not go down without a fight. Let em go, we didn’t need em anyway. When we get this mess straigtened out, our country back to it’s people, these people will want to come back and take advantage of what we have worked hard to accomplish. Just my opinion. Life is short and the retiree’s want to spend their Golden Years sunbathing on these beaches while most TRUE Americans go without awaiting a change to happen. It will happen. We will regain our country. I opt to stay here and stand up for what I believe in…no matter what.

  2. Excuse me, the odds of no bodily harm coming to Mr. Engel, Ms. Lindley and Mr. Karnes in Me-hee-co simply can’t be greater than in, say, Seattle.

    I believe the odds of drug cartel violence increasing will shorten the longevity odds of these gringos.

    Last year I had a customer in my shop who had spent five years teaching school in our state’s prison system. Many students were Hispanic. I shared with her the all drugs/all the time & weapons sighting in my neighborhood of supposed “families.” She told me I was right to be suspicious.

    “I can tell you with absolute certainty that
    no matter how hard you try, no matter
    how nice you are to these folks, they will
    NEVER like you. And it’s just because
    you.are.a.gringo.” Peaceful co-existence
    is about all we can hope for. And these are
    supposed to be—for lack of a better word—
    pleasant peasants.

    News reports of decapitations, kidnappings
    and other violence seem to indicate the
    problem is only worsening. Arizona knows
    first-hand the home invasions, robberies and

    And I wouldn’t be surprised if the three
    people profiled in this article are married
    or living with a Hispanic. Which may give
    them a certain amount of immunity.

  3. The more things change…

    The lines that follow, written back in 2006,
    Were among those frequently sent
    To folks in public office (or the press)–
    Who’re well beyond the age of consent–
    Designed to call attention to aspects
    Of the problem of illegal immigration,
    That appear to have been addressed very poorly
    By the Senate in (then) recently passed legislation.

    Little or no progress has been made to date
    Toward developing the type of legislation
    That will be needed if we’re to satisfactorily resolve
    The vexing issue of “illegal immigration”…..

    From the archives: May 26, 2006

    Special K has done some ineffective lambasting
    But is now at least tentatively forecasting
    That the bill passed in the Senate
    With loads of “amnesty” in it,
    Won’t prove to be very long-lasting.

    Foolishness, and some mischief, too,
    May be found within the Senate’s purview,
    And for these qualities,
    Like those of a social disease,
    “Cure and prevention” is not now in view.

    A last minute change in the Senate bill
    Calls for “consultation”
    On the issue of constructing a fence,
    With reps of the Mexican nation!!!!
    (Rush, 12:28 p.m. on the (adopted) Dodd amendment).

    South of the border, down Mexico way,
    Was a very popular song, “way back when”;
    The notion of (mass) illegal immigration
    Was not conceived of as a problem back then.

    What was implied in that light hearted song
    Was simply that it would not be very long
    Before a lovesick swain,
    Would some day, once again,
    Join the senorita for whom he had feelings, strong.

    The message is quite different, today,
    The traffic, now, is all the other way,
    Folks here don’t go
    Down to Old Mexico—
    Rather residents there favor trips to the USA!

    (Note. June 13, 2010, re: Gringo Gulchers, if you like it there that’s OK)

    And, they don’t want to wait very long
    For the urge to come to see us is strong,
    So they’ll brook no delay
    In visting the U.S. of A.
    And think that going back home would be wrong.

    In any event….proceeding prosaically…

    Listening to Senators debate aspects of the current “comprehensive immigration reform” bill, evokes the “always left by the same door wherein I went” syndrome that has characterized the experience of those exposed to all such discussions of illegal immigration–and what to do about it. The issue is, in fact, too complex to permit any “general” resolution. However, we should be able to find a way to begin to deal effectively with one or two aspects of the overall problem in such a way as to help assure that it does not become increasingly difficult to deal with rationally. If illegal immigration continues, essentially unchecked, it will undoubtedly become more difficult to deal with. Accordingly,

    1) steps needed to stop illegal entry (and, not by redefinition) should be implemented as soon as possible (not in five years), and

    2) steps needed to conduct a thorough census of illegal aliens should be implemented as soon as possible.

    The census, as I see it, would be designed to
    (a) separate the “sheep” from the “goats” in the illegal alien subpopulation, and

    (b) provide citizens of the U.S., for the first time, “accurate” data regarding the size and composition of the illegal alien subpopulation now residing in the United States.

    (The thought that we’ve had the capability of identifying these people all along, but have simply failed to do so—and apparently have failed almost completely to enforce existing law—should have occurred to the Senators who now propose massive new rules and regulations!)

    The separation of “sheep” (who come forward as invited) from “goats” (those who fail to do so) would be accomplished, in theory, by holding out the promise of continued, conditional residence in the U.S. to all illegals who voluntarily identify themselves, and the promise of swift and certain deportation to all illegals who fail to do so–when, and if, they are subsequently identified. Feasible measures required to expedite such identification would appear to call for

    (a) some form of hard-to-duplicate ID system
    (b) mandatory “cooperation” of employers in checking/reporting to authority, along with stiff penalties for those hiring illegal residents, and
    (c) legislation needed to authorize the participation of law-enforcement at all levels in identifying/detaining/reporting the “goats”, and so on.

    If the majority of illegals are “good, hard-working folk, who ‘really love America'” as apologists for the illegal sub-population tend to argue, then we would expect that the majority (sheep) would come forward; and we would then be left with only the goats—by inference, a minority of the total of 10, 11, 12 ? million–to be deported swiftly when detected.

    In any event, even columnists like Paul Krugman (Princeton U./NYTimes), Friedman and Goodman, none of whom can be thought of as a “leaner to starboard”, have worried about the implications of a growing “low-level job-holder” population).

    Issuing 200,000 NEW permits, and permitting the families of illegal residents to join them here makes little (common) sense. The latter, especially, is mind-boggling! [And it was just reported that the Dodd amendment was tacked on at the last moment: NO fences before consultation with Mexican authority].

    And we don’t see/hear anything bearing on implementation of provisions concerned with registration, issuance of ID, assessment of English proficiency, and so on! It’s hard enough to get a driver license that has a photo ID (harder to produce the needed ID), assuming one is a citizen!

    We can only hope that what the Senate proposes will be largely eliminated in Conference. If the Senate version, or any substantial portion thereof, should survive the Conference, then heaven help us!
    Again on June 13, 2010
    It’s interesting to see how some issues
    Tend to perseverate,
    And appear un-amenable to resolution
    In the course of usual political debate.

    So it would seem to be re: how to deal properly
    With issues stemming from prolonged tolerance of illegal immigration–
    And the increasing millions of illegal residents involved over time
    Due to theoretically avoidable legislative procrastination.

  4. Which is why I have been for a long time an advocate of annexing Mexico. To hell with this sovereign state nonsense. If we controlled Mexico we could use our army to root out the drug cartels and establish some level of peace in the region.

  5. But it seems likely, alas, if ’twere feasible,
    That it would be at “our” (the taxpayers’) expense–
    Encouraging Mexico to police the cartels at its own expense, albeit with only limited success,
    Might be thought of as making some sense.

    • Marida is the home town of a number of baseball players, Fernando Valenzuela the most noted. I’m sure they have bought off the police who are in with the drug cartels to make the area a lead free zone. J.C.


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