The Mexico Institute is pleased to announce the launch of its series, Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations, which reevaluates the U.S.-Mexico relationship and explores how both nations can improve upon the bilateral agenda given changes in the regional and global context. The series includes original content, including reports, videos, and more.
Mexico Institute Senior Advisor and Wilson Center Executive Vice President, Andrew Selee is the guest for part four of the series, “Charting a New Course.” In this episode we focus on the migration agenda and related issues and policies between the U.S. and Mexico. Immigration issues have loomed large in U.S. politics for some time now, but how much is really understood about migration patterns between the North American neighbors? Selee sheds much needed light on an issue too often the subject of heat in this edition of Wilson Center NOW.
By Andrew Selee
Today, the number of Mexicans crossing the border illegally has dropped to a 40-year low, and there are almost certainly more Mexican immigrants leaving the United States than arriving. A majority of the immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are now Central Americans, and the U.S. and Mexican governments have been working closely to find ways to limit this flow and keep people from making the dangerous journey north. Perhaps most surprisingly, the number of Americans in Mexico has been growing rapidly, reaching somewhere around a million people, almost as large a group of U.S. citizens as live in all of the countries of the European Union combined.
The United States and Mexico each have interests in protecting their sovereignty and enforcing their immigration laws, but they will also need to work together to address Central American immigration, ensure robust growth in Mexico that keeps migration from starting up again, and protecting their own citizens living in the other country.
“A New Migration Agenda Between the United States and Mexico,” was written by Andrew Selee, Executive Vice President of the Wilson Center and Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute. In this policy brief, Selee reviews existing cooperation between the United States and Mexico on migration and provides policy recommendations for a more nuanced and balanced migration agenda.
This policy brief is the third of our series “Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations.” The policy briefs will be released individually and published as a volume in the spring of 2017.
An entire generation of children, adolescents and young adults has been caught in the crucible of increasing criminalization of immigrants coupled with neoliberal globalization policies in Mexico and the United States. These are first- and second-generation immigrant youth who are bicultural, often bilingual, but rarely recognized as binational citizens in either of their countries. Since 2005, an estimated two million Mexicans have returned to Mexico after having lived in the United States, including over 500,000 U.S.-born children. As of 2005, the population of Mexican-origin immigrant youth in the United States (first- and second-generation) reached an estimated 6.9 million. They have come of age in conditions of extreme vulnerability due to their undocumented status or the undocumented status of their parents.
The challenges that immigrant youth face in the aftermath of deportation and return are varied. Emotional distress, post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression and alienation are commonly described as key factors during the first months to years of return. These young people have experienced family separation, a sense of alienation, and human rights violations during detention and deportation. Systemic and inter-personal discrimination against deportees and migrants among the non-migrant population in Mexico can make an already challenging situation more difficult. For some, an accent, a lack of language proficiency in Spanish, and/or tattoos make it difficult to “blend in,” find jobs, or continue their studies. In addition to emotional and socio-cultural stress, there are also facing systemic educational, employment and political barriers to local integration and stability.
This paper examines the phenomenon of binational immigrant youth and, in the interest of constructing a binational agenda that privileges the human security and socio-economic integration of immigrant youth in the United States and Mexico in the short- and long-term, proposes a list of binational public policy recommendations.
10/30/16 The New York Times
The Bracero Program, which drew hundreds of thousands of Mexican laborers to toil in American fields from 1942 to 1964, left a searing memory of injustice. The program has been blamed for depressing farm wages and abusing immigrant workers.
So I wasn’t surprised that some critics took a dim view of the proposal I wrote about in last week’s column, which suggests that an improved version of the Bracero Program might help manage immigration by low-skilled workers into the United States and curtail illegal immigration.
Critics argue that the Bracero Program did not stop illegal immigration. And they cite some evidence that farm wages rose after it ended. Other studies, however, suggest otherwise. There is no historical census of illegal immigrants, so the numbers will remain in dispute.
10/21/16 BBC News
The Mexican authorities say they have stopped a lorry carrying 121 Central American migrants, who were trying to reach the US illegally.
They were found after police at a checkpoint in the southern state of Tabasco heard calls for help coming from the vehicle and the sound of crying children.
Many of the migrants, who included 55 minors, were badly dehydrated.
Most had come from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador or Ecuador.
In a quiet Tijuana neighborhood, Haitian migrants mill about in the morning light. Some rest on blankets under trees, others play dominoes. Babo Pierrot, 44, wearing a tattered sweatshirt, talks to his wife in Haitian Creole. The couple and their baby boy arrived here about two weeks ago, migrating from Brazil. They had lived there since the massive 2010 earthquake in Haiti forced them to leave.