MEXICO

GENERAL DATA

Poverty rate:

42%

 out of the total population.

MIGRATION DATA:

  • Sending country: around 12 million Mexicans or 9.5% of the total population reside abroad mainly in the US (97.4%), Canada (0.73%) and Spain (0.45%).

  • Destination country: around 1 million immigrants or 0.85% of the total population live in Mexico. The main countries of origin are the US (71.87%), Guatemala (4.16%) and Spain (2.22%). 

  • Transit country: Due to its geographic location Mexico has been a country of transit for irregularized migrants en route to the US who originate, mostly from Central America, but also from  South America, the Caribbean, and African, Asian, and the Middle Eastern countries. In particular, the southern states of Mexico are important transit areas for irregularized migrants. Mexican authorities estimate that some 150,000 migrants pass through its territory annually. 

  • Host country for refugees: In 2017, 14,596 people seeked asylum in Mexico (29% from Honduras, 27% from Venezuela, 25% from El Salvador. In 2019, a record number of asylum applications was reached, reporting 70,709 asylum seekers.

1,041,875

IMPACT BY COVID-19

101,676

REGISTERED CASES

NUMBER OF DEATHS

* Weekly data update

DATE: NOVEMBER 23, 2020

STATE MEASURES

  • Border closures and increasing border surveillance. 

  • Increased cooperation between Mexico and the US in migration and border control issues during the pandemic.

  • About 27,000 Mexican soldiers have been sent to border areas. The US has sent more than 5,000 US soldiers and 540 additional troops to the US-Mexico border in order to reinforce immigration control by the Border Patrol. 

  • In the face of the national health emergency established by the US, which closed the border and stopped ongoing migration processes, including the right to seek asylum, and under the "Remain in Mexico" policy, the Mexican government agreed to:

    • Accept returned Mexicans and thousands of Central Americans who stay at the northern border waiting for their asylum application process to resume. 

    • Assist thousands of Central Americans, who are waiting and in legal limbo, providing facilities in existing infrastructure such as shelters located throughout the border strip or refugee camps such as the one in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. 

    • Receive Mexicans deported from the US, especially the ones who are tested and identified for COVID-19 upon arrival, and help them return to their communities of origin by land with the support of the National Institute of Migration (INM). 

    • Assist thousands of deported children and adolescents  placed in detention centers.

    • Create a program called the Federal Government's Integral Center for Attention to Migrants in Tijuana. This is a maquiladora ship in an industrial park with the capacity to receive up to 3,000 people whose asylum hearing in the US was postponed or Mexican returnees. 

  • The temporary stay permit obtained through the Multiple Immigration Form was temporarily suspended by the INM. This measure produces the irregularization of migrants and exacerbates the possibility of deportation.

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) considers the proposal to grant  regular status to migrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to minimize crowding in detention centers.

  • Deadlines, terms and activities of the Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB) are suspended, including the refugee status determination processes, until May 1.

    • In April, asylum applications plummeted by 90% in Mexico. 

  • The Mexican Commission for Aid to Refugees (under SEGOB) continues to receive applications for asylum and has provided guidelines to asylum seekers and refugees on  social distancing, self-quarantine, and access to health centres.

  • UNHCR Mexico suspended the relocation program temporarily. 

  • Migrant shelters operated by the federal government and civil society were at great risk of contagion because they were at their full capacity:

    • Health services at the national level are in contact with migrant shelters to identify cases of Covid-19.

  • The 32 detention centres  and the 26 temporary detention centres are overcrowded, and no measures have been taken to protect detainees:

    • There have been no tests for COVID-19.

    • The number of emergency shelters has not increased.

    • There is a focus of contagion and life risk for migrant detainees.

    • Detainees have organized protests in the detention centres in in Chiapas, Tabasco, Sonora and Coahuila.

    • When one person was killed in a fire during the protest in Tabasco, the INM stated that it had acted peacefully and blamed it on the people who protested. By contrast, testimonies provided by detainees indicate that INM and National Guard agents did not allow them to leave the burning building. This action resulted in the death of one protestor.

  • Due to social pressure, at the end of April, almost all of the migrants detained in detention centres were released. They were mostly Central Americans. 

    • An agreement with the countries of the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras), and with the support of the IOM and UNHCR made it possible for many detainees to return to their country of origin. However, it is not clear whether these  returns were voluntary, and whether there were asylum seekers among those who had returned.

    • The INM and SRE achieved the return of 3,600 migrants by land to Guatemala and by air to Honduras and El Salvador. Among them were girls, boys, adolescents, elderly, families, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases. 

  • There have been recorded cases of arbitrary detentions by municipal, state and/or federal police, agents that have no legal authority to detain migrants.

  • So far, the only explicit measure to support Mexican migrants abroad has been SRE’s assistance in transferring, embalming or cremating deceased people. 

For more detail go to the digital archive that we created:

In mid-March 2020, nearly every country on the continent declared a health emergency. These countries closed their borders and adopted a series of exceptional measures, arguing that forced immobility as a  solution to contain the virus. Following the shutdown of borders,  more than 30 researchers from the Americas, interested in analyzing the migratory question politically, organized virtually and began to consider the particular situation of millions of migrants, women, men, children and adolescents, from the continent and/or from other latitudes, all of whom are mobile and in transit.

Original Concept: Soledad Álvarez Velasco, University of Houston

General Coordination:Soledad Álvarez Velasco, University of Houston & Ulla D. Berg, Rutgers University

Research, Systematization and Development of Contents: Soledad Álvarez Velasco, University of Houston;  Ulla D. Berg, Rutgers University; Lucía Pérez-Martínez, FLACSO-Ecuador; Mónica Salmon, New School for Social Research; Sebastián León,  Rutgers University.

Coordination polyphonic map: Iréri Ceja Cárdenas: Museo Nacional/ Universidad Federal de Rio de Janeiro

Project Advisor: Nicholas De Genova, Universidad of Houston.

 

Translation team Spanish - English: 

Soledad Álvarez Velasco, Mónica Salmón, Ulla Berg, Luin Goldring, Tanya Basok, Ingrid Carlson, Gabrielle Cabrera.

Translation team Spanish - Portuguese: 

Iréri Ceja, Gustavo Dias, Gislene Santos, Elisa Colares, Handerson Joseph, Caio Fernandes, María Villarreal.

Website Design and Development:  ACHU! Studio; Francisco Hurtado Caicedo, Social Observatory of Ecuador

Photography: David Gustafsson y Cynthia Briones.

Video: David Gustafsson.

Some of the researchers of this project are members of these CLACSO Working Groups

English translation and proofreading by Gabrielle Cabrera, Rutgers University.

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