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Remittances can make the American ideal achievable

An immigration policy analyst offers his thoughts on remittances and how they've contributed to immigrants being able to achieve the American Dream.

As you're likely already aware, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is in effect, affording many younger undocumented immigrants with the opportunity to stay within the country without having to fear being deported. But what you may not fully appreciate is just how many people within the U.S. have family at home that they are providing for, which is why immigrants came to the U.S. to begin with.

In an opinion piece for the National Journal, Andrew Wainer, senior immigration policy analyst at the Bread for the World Institute, recently wrote about these immigrants, how their work ethic and drive has improved the lives of their loved ones and the potential for their remittances to do more good than they have already.

While many parts of the world receive remittances, nowhere are people more reliant on them than in Mexico and Central America, Wainer states. In countries like Guatemala and Honduras, remittances have a major impact. The money sent home is put to use so families can send their children to school, eat nutritious meals, pay for medical visits and rent bills. Citing the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Wainer said remittances enable people to get back on their feet by lifting them out of trying economic conditions.

As much as remittances are already helping families better support themselves, Wainer says more can be done. For instance, in addition to providing for the material goods of families, an international money transfer could also be invested so that more jobs can be created. This would provide other workers the opportunity to work in their home country if they wanted to, rather than feeling compelled to come to the U.S. in order to improve their job-seeking prospects.

He added that remittance recipients could also benefit from a few educational courses on how to invest in sustainable enterprises, which would help make families' earnings go that much further.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – otherwise known as the American Dream – is an aspiration of all people, Wainer noted. Better integration and implementation of remittance policies can get everyone closer to achieving the American ideal.

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