Illegal Immigrants in Chicago Admit What They're Doing With Their U.S. Dollars

In an interview conducted at a playground in Chicago, a group of undocumented immigrants from Venezuela shared that they primarily send the U.S. dollars they earn back to their families in their home country, rather than spending it in the United States.


The video was produced by the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project.

Remittances, the practice of immigrants sending U.S. dollars back to their home countries, account for a significant outflow of money from the United States. The Heritage Foundation reported that in 2011, about $52 billion was sent abroad by both legal and illegal immigrants. This trend has reportedly intensified over time.

The topic of remittances is often overlooked in discussions about the border crisis. It's argued that these transactions are detrimental to the U.S. economy, with funds being diverted from local spending to other countries. For instance, it was estimated that in 2019, the U.S. economy lost $150 billion due to remittances. This figure is believed to have risen following policy changes under President Joe Biden.

These funds are not being circulated within the U.S. economy, affecting local businesses, educational institutions, investments, and savings. The economic impact is considered a growing concern.

Former President Donald Trump aimed to implement stricter policies than those of George W. Bush, intending to limit the ability of foreign nationals to send remittances to their home countries.

In 2006, President George W. Bush established the "Directo a Mexico" program, which facilitated the process for immigrants to send U.S. dollars back to Mexico and other countries. During his presidency, Donald Trump imposed certain limitations on these remittance practices. However, upon taking office, President Joe Biden rolled back some of these restrictions, effectively increasing the ease with which immigrants could transfer U.S. dollars out of the American economy.

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