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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Where Will Illegal Immigrants Retire?

From the New York Times:

In recent decades, millions of working-age Mexicans have entered the United States. Most of them have come illegally, taking jobs on the bottom rungs of the American labor market.

While much of the attention remains on the persistent inflow of illegal workers, a new question is beginning to worry some analysts and policy makers on both sides of the border: What will happen when the 10 million Mexicans living in the United States become too old to work? Will they retire in the United States or will they return to Mexico?

As they age, the choices these old-timers make could fray the social fabric on both sides of the border.

Mexico is not prepared to receive them back. With a rapidly aging population living in Mexico and virtually no public system of social security or health insurance, Mexico could hardly cope with millions of returning immigrants who spent their working lives in the United States...

But the United States is also unprepared to deal with millions of poor, aging immigrants, eking out a living without recourse to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or most other forms of federal assistance.

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