Mexico City residents are getting fed up with foreign visitors and expats as a rush of Americans are moving to the city, raising rents and gentrifying neighborhoods. According to the State Department, 1.6 million Americans live in Mexico.

Americans from California to Brooklyn have been moving to North America’s largest city by population to avoid rising prices at home. For $2,000, barely enough for a one-bedroom apartment in some cities in America, expats can get a penthouse in the center of Mexico City, where the average monthly wage is just $450.

But the new residents are not welcomed by everyone. Some are complaining that the influx of comparatively rich Americans is forcing poorer Mexicans out of neighborhoods they once called their own. Others are also concerned about the growing prevalence of English in the predominantly Spanish-speaking city.

Rents have been rising in the more walkable neighborhoods, and recently expletive-laden fliers have been appearing telling expats that they are not welcome.

“New to the city? Working remotely?” the fliers read in English. “You’re a f—ing plague and the locals f—ing hate you. Leave.”

Still, the Los Angeles Times reports that most locals remain friendly to foreigners in Mexico City, but tensions are rising. A tenant advocacy group in the city recently hosted a walking tour, showcasing “places we have lost to gentrification, touristification and forced displacement.” The flier advertising the event stated that “Our homes now house digital nomads.”

Americans moving to Mexico City began in earnest when a New York Times article called the city the world’s best travel destination in 2016, but it went into high gear when the pandemic started in 2020. While most countries closed their borders, Mexico remained open to Americans, causing it to become a hub for American tourists and expats looking to leave the States. Things only continued to heat up as inflation and rising housing prices made a high standard of living less attainable in America.

“We’re just seeing Americans flooding in,” said Alexandra Demou, who runs Welcome Home Mexico, a relocation company. “It’s people who maybe have their own business, or maybe they’re thinking of starting some consulting or freelance work. They don’t even know how long they’re going to stay. They’re completely picking up their entire lives and just moving down here.”

Americans can stay in Mexico for six months without a visa, which is in stark contrast to the US immigration policy for Mexican citizens.
The issue is also exacerbating problems Mexico already has with class and race, where Mexicans with darker skin and indigenous minorities are often discriminated against.

“People with white skin are given preference,” Fernando Bustos Gorozpe, a writer and university professor in Mexico City told the Times. “Now, if a local wants to go to a restaurant or a club, they don’t just have to compete with rich, white Mexicans but with foreigners too.”

Some business owners, like Ricos Tacos Toluca owner Ted Rossano Jr., welcome the influx of cash the American tourists and expats bring. He says foreigners now make up about 15% of the stand’s income, which saved the business when it came on hard times during the pandemic. The stand is now a stop on several “taco tours.”

“It’s cool. We’re proud of it,” Rossano told the Times. “Who would have thought that a simple business like this would get international recognition.”

This article was republished from Sputnik News.