Sunday, July 5, 2009

Immigrants in US are asking for money from home

(AP:FAIRVIEW, N.J.) For five years, immigrant day laborer Leo Chamale wired money twice a month from New Jersey to his family in Guatemala. Recently, he stepped up to the money transfer window for a different purpose _ to ask that his family send some of his savings back to him.

"I hadn't worked for five months, and I was two months behind on rent, so I had them send $1,500," the 21-year-old Chamale said in Spanish. "My mother said, `That's a lot of money!'"

With the U.S. economy in a ditch, money transfer agencies have been reporting a decline in the wages immigrants are sending back to their home countries. Now, it appears some immigrants are going a step further _ asking their relatives to wire them money back.

"We've never seen this before," said Marlen Miranda, manager of Peerless Travel in Fairview, which runs a money transfer service. "I mean, one or two people might receive money for a special reason, but not this quantity of people."

Miranda said she has seen her customer base dwindle from 200 people to 75 who regularly use her money transfer services each month. Of those 75, Miranda said, about 20 now come in to receive money instead of sending it home.

See rest of the story here.

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