Renegade Retirees make Mexico #1 Place to Retire

By Elliot Bullman

For the first time in twenty years,Mexicohas topped the list of International Living Magazine'sannual ranking of the best places for U.S. citizens to retire. The population of Americans in Mexico is rising, in size as well as in age.

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Yet most of them may be there illegally. South of the border, it's relatively easy for U.S. citizens to live without legal documentation. In fact, some official reports indicate that illegal Americans seem to be the rule, not the exception.

One 2015 study from Mexico's National Institute of Statistics and Geography reveals that a stunning 91.2 per centof Americans in Mexico don't have their papers in order.

The welcome many American immigrants feel in Mexico stands in stark contrasts to the way their Mexican counterparts are treated by Uncle Sam.

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Mexicans generally embrace Americans and the influx of U.S. dollars that accompany them, and the Mexican government rarely deports Americans – typically just for very serious crime. Fines related to immigration paperwork can range from $50 to a few hundred dollars.

Conversely, under the Trump administration, even those people who grew up in the U.S, brought here as babies or children, arebeing deported for lacking formal documentation.

According to the U.S. State Department,around a millionAmericans currently reside in Mexico. But that number is only an estimate, since citizens aren't closely tracked leaving the U.S. For its part, Mexico struggles to tally incoming visitors.

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Cheap living, proximity and established enclaves of Americans are three top reasons why Americans are drawn to retiring in Mexico, says Jen Stevens, the executive editor of International Living.

Hot spots for American immigrants, young and old alike, include cities and towns like San Miguel de Allende, Rosarito, the Valle de Guadalupe, Lake Chapala and Ajijic.

In my view, part of the reason Mexico came out on top is because of the dollar being so strong this year, compared to the peso which means it is even more affordable now than it was a decade ago.

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