SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, Mexico (CNN) – While politicians in Washington debate building a wall between the United States and Mexico, Americans who’ve moved south of the border have a different perspective on the country they’ve come to call home.
Walk the streets of San Miguel de Allende, a colonial town in central Mexico that’s long been a mecca for American retirees, and you’ll meet new arrivals who say they’re grateful they’ve found a place to escape from mounting political tensions in the United States.
Some even have a catch phrase for the things they say brought them here. They call them “the three C’s”: climate, culture and cost of living.
According to the State Department, roughly 1 million U.S. citizens live in Mexico.
What’s the appeal of putting down roots here?
Here’s what several residents of San Miguel de Allende had to say:
She wanted to escape the US political climate
Cathy Peoples, 61, is a newbie to Mexico. She says she moved here from Laurel, Maryland, in January to get away from the political climate in the U.S/. She was surprised by the ease of the process; it only took her six weeks to become a legal resident.
He says Mexico’s beauty isn’t the only draw
Real estate broker Lane Simmons, 64, has lived in Mexico for 23 years after moving from Austin, Texas. He says he’s seen a 40 percent increase in home sales over the past year as a growing number of people are drawn to San Miguel de Allende and pushed away from the United States.
He feels just as safe here as he did in the US
Iven Kelley-Dobson, 64, moved to San Miguel six years ago, leaving behind a high-end retail store in Wichita, Kansas. He argues Mexico is a very safe place to live. Despite reports of increased violence, he has never felt threatened.
She came for the artistic community
Isis Rodriguez, 52, is an artist who’s lived in San Miguel de Allende for seven years and says she loves being surrounded by generous artists and their work. She teaches classes in a 13th century building near the town’s central plaza.
He’s in awe of the affordable healthcare
Bill Krajec moved to San Miguel de Allende last year. Doctors here, he says, are more helpful and enjoyable to visit than in the U.S.. Although the cost of living is higher than he thought it would be, he’s amazed by the affordable healthcare available in town.