Mexico and the Migration Phenomenon

In Mexico, as in other countries and regions of the world, migration is a complex and difficult phenomenon to approach. The diverse migration processes of exit, entrance, return and transit of migrants are all present in our country.

Given the extent and the characteristics of today’s migration phenomenon, which will continue in the immediate future and given the implications that it represents for our country’s development, a new vision and a change are necessary in the way Mexican society has approached, thus far, its responsibilities toward the migration phenomenon.

Over the last years, the magnitude reached by Mexican migration and its complex effects in the economic and social life of Mexico and the United States, have made the migration phenomenon increasingly important for the national agendas of both countries, and a priority issue in the bilateral agenda.

From the outset of the Administration, the government of President Fox put forward a proposal to the Mexican public opinion and to the highest authorities in the United States, regarding a comprehensive plan aimed at dealing with the diverse aspects of migration between the two countries. Mexico based its proposal on the principle of shared responsibility, which acknowledges that both countries must do their share in order to obtain the best results from the bilateral management of the migration phenomenon.

In 2001, the governments of both nations intensified the dialogue and set in motion a process of bilateral negotiations with the intent of finding ways to face the multiple challenges and opportunities of the phenomenon; these actions were taken with the objective of establishing a new migration framework between the two countries.

However, the terrorist attacks of September 2001 against the United States, criminal acts which were unmistakably deplorable, altered the bilateral agenda on migration. On the one hand, the link between migration and national security –mainly along the shared border– is now an essential issue of that agenda. On the other hand, the participation in the migration debate of varied political actors –especially legislators of both countries–, has increased. 

The debate that is currently taking place in the United States, concerning a possible migration reform, represents an opportunity for Mexico and for the bilateral handling of the phenomenon. It also encourages a deep analysis of the consequences that this process can have for our country and its migration policy.

Based on a joint initiative by the Executive Branch and the Senate of Mexico, a group of federal authorities responsible for the management of the migration phenomenon, senators and congressmen, members of the academia, experts in migratory issues, and representatives of civil society organizations, agreed to initiate an effort that seeks to build a national migration policy, founded over shared diagnoses and platforms. Accordingly, the group has held a series of discussions titled Prospects and Design of Platforms for the Construction of a Mexican Migration Policy.

The ideas expressed in this document are the result of those discussions. They intend to bring up to date Mexico’s migration position and to offer some specific guidance regarding the process of migration reform in the United States.



Based on the discussions held, the participants agreed upon the following set of principles that should guide Mexico’s migration policy:



Recommendations regarding the commitments that Mexico should agree on

 Main recommendations considered by the group in order to update Mexico’s migration policy:

Elements related to a possible migration reform in the United States

 Mexico does not promote undocumented migration and is eager to participate in finding solutions that will help us face the migration phenomenon. Accordingly, the group decided to express certain thoughts about what is the Mexican position in case a migration reform takes place in the United States: 

 This working group aims to become a permanent body of study, debate and development of public policies for the handling of the migration phenomenon.


Participants in the meetings

Prospects and Design of Platforms for the Construction of a

Mexican Migration Policy

Legislators Federal Government Academia Members Foreign Policy Experts Civil Society Organizations

Senator Silvia Hernández

Undersecretary Gerónimo Gutiérrez (SRE) Jorge Santibáñez (COLEF) Andrés Rozental (COMEXI) Mauricio Farah (CNDH)
Senator Héctor Osuna Undersecretary Rodolfo Tuirán (SEDESOL) Rafael Fernández de Castro (ITAM)  Jorge Montaño (COMEXI)

Fabienne Venet (Sin Fronteras)

Senator Raymundo Cárdenas Undersecretary Gerardo López (STPS) Manuel Ángel Castillo (COLMEX)

 Luis Herrera-Lasso (Grupo Coppan)

Congresswoman Laura Elena Martínez Elena Zúñiga (CONAPO) Rodolfo García Zamora (UAZ) * Gustavo Mohar
Congresswoman Ruth Hernández Lauro López (INM) Ulises Carmona (UNAM)
Congressman Manuel Camacho Solís *Jaime Domingo López Francisco de Alba (COLMEX)


* Jaime Domingo López (former undersecretary for Population and Migration Issues) and Gustavo Mohar occupy today different positions from the ones they held when the meetings took place.