What do Americans think of Mexicans?
More and more Americans are drawn to Mexico
It also has to do with Donald Trump that Roderick Conrad moved to Mexico City a few months ago. The daily talk about race in the USA contributed to his decision, says the late fifties, who worked as a voice actor for a long time. "In the US everyone is defined by their nationality or race. I wanted to have the experience of living abroad as an African American." After 20 years in New York, he was ready for a change of scenery.
The US State Department estimates that 1.5 million Americans live in Mexico - twice as many as ten years ago. Recently it was more and more young people. Many enter on a tourist visa and then stay. Like Kathleen Roberton. The Washington D.C. company she worked for shut down in the summer of 2015. Having no family on the east coast, the 42-year-old from Spokane, Washington state decided to take time off in Mexico.
"It was the right step"
Enthusiastic about the hospitality and generosity of the people, she finally abandoned her return flight. When her former boss called six months later and wanted to bring her back to the reopened company, she refused. Today she lives in Mexico City for most of the year and works from there for a high school program in the USA. "It was the right move," she says.
Roderick Conrad was fed up with discussions in the US about race and nationality
Lea Ghandour, too, grew up in New York as the daughter of Lebanese parents and actually only wanted to spend a weekend in Mexico City. That was almost two years ago. The 40-year-old coordinates projects in the USA from her laptop. At first she tried to find work in Mexico. "But there is no start-up culture like in New York, no jobs in the home office. I didn't want to work twelve hours a day. When I found out what Mexicans earn on average, I decided to work as a freelancer." Although she earns far less than in New York, she has a better quality of life. Work isn't everything, says Ghandour. Finding Mexican girlfriends, on the other hand, is difficult. "For people, I'm the girl from New York."
Roderick Conrad, on the other hand, experiences Mexico in a certain way as a liberation. “In the US, I always have to see myself as a black person, especially when dealing with the police. Not here; in many ways it's better here. "He raves about the cultural offerings and the people." Within a month I felt at home, "says Conrad." In New York everything revolves around money and work. The rents are rising. New York will be a city for the rich. "
Lea Ghandour has lived in Mexico for two years
Kathleen Roberton sees it similarly. Her rent in Mexico City is not cheap, but here she can get a spacious apartment for the price of a room in DC. And she spends much, much less on food. "Quality of life and stress level are directly linked to the cost of living," she says. But her new life is not entirely stress-free either: Roberton still does not have a regular residence status.
How Mexico Favors US Migrants
Even when the Mexican government controls and deports migrants from Central America, it takes a rather lax approach towards US immigrants - regardless of whether they are legally in the country or not. "We never put you under pressure to get your documents in order," Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told the Washington Post last year.
The "tourist status" leads to difficulties in everyday life. "For example, I don't have health insurance," explains Roberton. "That worries me. I also can't rent an apartment in my name or open a bank account." Fortunately, she has friends who help her with the administrative work. She pays the phone and the rent in cash.
Kathleen Roberton initially only wanted to take a break and stayed
Nicole Pierpont doesn't have these problems. As the daughter of a Mexican father and a Salvadoran mother, she has a Mexican passport in addition to her US passport. Born in California, she spent much of her youth in Costa Rica. “When I came back to the US, it was a culture shock. I felt like an outsider. "In California, she sometimes had three jobs at the same time in order to be able to pay her rent. When she received a job offer in Los Cabos, Baja California, she didn't think twice and went to her father's home .
"It is starting to become a very important cultural phenomenon"
When you factor in the thousands of Mexican-born people like Pierpont, the influx of migrants from the United States to Mexico is likely greater than that of Mexicans to the United States. "It is starting to become a very important cultural phenomenon. Similar to the Mexican community in the US," says Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. While the US is deeply divided on immigration issues, Americans are largely welcome in Mexico.
"At first people are a little confused about my Spanish, but when they hear that my father is from here, they react in a friendly way," says Pierpont, who now runs a small design shop in Mexico City. "The first year wasn't easy, but today I know everyone in the neighborhood and they know me." The young woman now feels at home in Mexico.
Once she lost her identity card. When she tried to renew it, the authorities did not believe her. "Light skin, blue eyes? That is a fake ID. You are not a Mexican, I was told," said Pierpont. "You're treated differently because you're from California and you look different. That's how it must feel for Mexican Americans in the United States."
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