The number of Americans who decide to move to Mexico (despite Trump’s campaign against the country) is growing on a daily basis.
Some of them talk about the reasons why they left their country and what life is like on the other side of the border.
“Many people come to retire here, because they live in a perpetual spring weather and for a fraction of the money they would do in the United States,” says Terry Vidal a resident of Ajijic, a municipality in Jalisco with one of the largest communities of Americans in Mexico.
Although there is no official figure, it is estimated that between 7 and 14 thousand Americans live in Ajijic.
“Most are retired people. But since Donald Trump is the president of the United States, there are more and more young people who no longer want to live there and come here, ”he says.
Vidal is the executive director of The Lake Chapala Society A.C., an organization that defines itself as “people who help people” and whose goals are to form a social fabric for those who come to live in Ajijic, not just Americans.
Although citizens of that nationality are those that make up the main community of foreigners in Mexico. This is shown by the figures of the National Institute of Migration (INM), which has registered at 75,500. However, experts say there are many more.
The US embassy estimates that of the nine million Americans living outside its territory, 1.5 million are in Mexico.
The sources consulted by BBC Mundo speak of one of the largest diasporas of that nationality in the world, something that is not easy to confirm, since the US has no accurate information on how many of their citizens live abroad. In addition, many of them live in Mexico and other countries with a tourist visa.
Others who are not registered in Mexico, but in the United States Embassy, are children of Mexicans who were born in the US. They are US citizens, but they arrived in Mexico when their parents returned, voluntarily or deported.
Whatever the overall figure, what everyone agrees is that the diaspora of Americans in Mexico has grown significantly in the last decade.
In addition to being a cheaper country and having a less harsh climate, another reason for Americans to migrate to Mexico is geographical proximity.
“It is a good option because it is a neighboring country from which you can travel easily (to the US) and there are also communities of Americans that make things easier,” explains Rachel Schmidtke, a researcher at the Woodrow Wilson Institute for Scholars, a think tank based in Washington.
Vidal, the executive director of The Lake Chapala Society A.C., explains that “Birds of a feather flock together,” an expression equivalent to the Mexican saying that goes: “Dios los hace y ellos se juntan” (God raises them, and they come together). That is, individuals of the same class tend to meet and that is why many have been arriving in Ajijic, on the shore of the picturesque lake of Chapala.
He says the majority are Democrats, although there are also Republicans and Trump supporters. “I’ve seen some close friends distance themselves for political reasons,” he acknowledges.
According to Vidal, Ajijic is a modern colony, which “was not imposed by force, but by the economy.”
And the American colony is so large that even many do not need to speak Spanish, despite having lived in the municipality for many years.
Although it is not a generality and many of the Americans living in Mexico speak Spanish perfectly.
“In Mexico I feel more at home”
This is the case of Natalie Baur, a historian who specializes in the preservation of digital archives that arrived in Mexico City four years ago.
“Everyone has the right to migrate. Some want to go (to the United States), others want to leave the United States, ”says Natalie Baur.
“It was here in Mexico, where I found myself. Right now I feel more at home here than in the United States, ” she says. She arrived with a scholarship to study in Mexico for nine months, but ended up staying.
She says she was glad to be living in Mexico when in November 2016 Donald Trump won the presidential elections.
“For the US government it can be “strange” that a citizen wants to live abroad, for example in Mexico. But we all have the right to migrate. Some want to go to the US, others want to get out of there, and that does not makes us traitors ” she added.
“I love my country. But my day to day is here. ”
She is happy with the friends she has made in Mexico. Although she recognizes that there are things she dislikes.
“The bureaucratic processes are difficult and sometimes meaningless,”
The Mazatlan Post Newsroom with information from Animal Político