The geographical location and the instability of the countries of the region have made Mexico one of the nations that receive the most migrants in the continent
The Mexican State has stood out in the region for hosting, in different stages, thousands of people. According to a report published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), entitled " Refugees in Mexico Sociodemographic profiles and Social Integration ", Mexican migration policy has stood out for opening the doors of its nation to people fleeing through political and social problems.
Leer en español: El desafío que representa la migración en México
Therefore, the historic will of Mexico on migration facilitated the ratification of the Convention on the Status of Refugees of 1951 and the creation of the Mexican Commission for Assistance to Refugees (COMAR) in 1980, who is the main government partner of the UNHCR and is the institution responsible for determining the refugee status of applicants.
However, despite the migratory institutions, the great migratory flows towards the small country have created great challenges, since the alterations and imbalances have generated new problems. Which, forces the government to duplicate efforts and establish new measures on immigration policy.
Mexican migration problems
The migratory flow to Mexico has increased and new underlying problems are the product of illegal migration and the processes of application of immigration law.
According to data provided by UNHCR, 400,000 people enter Mexico irregularly. At the same time, 2016 saw a 162% increase in asylum applications from people from the Northern Triangle of Central America (TNCA), of which Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are part.
The numbers continue to rise and with them the problems. Illegal migration has led to the massive entry of unaccompanied minors. What this entails, according to the UNHCR, is the detention of 36,000 children by the Mexican immigration authorities in 2016 and the return of the children to their countries of origin. The majority of minors are natives of the TNCA.
According to the organization Human Rights Watch, repression, threats and forced recruitment of gangs are the main causes of the exodus of minors. Therefore, for UNHCR, the detention of children should not be carried out, since international standards require States not to detain children because of their immigration status. On the contrary, the government and its institutions should help minors and guarantee their protection
On the other hand, another of the problems exposed by the UNHCR is the little information on the procedure to request asylum. It is estimated that less than 1% of people from the TNCA, who enter irregularly, request asylum. In part, due to the little information that the authorities issue.
In the same way, the situation in Venezuela and Nicaragua increases the migration crisis experienced in Latin America. The UN, on the other hand, says that the migratory exodus in Latin America is reaching the numbers of the European migratory crisis. And before that, there are more and more requests for asylum from Venezuelans and Nicaraguans, which magnifies the problem that Mexico has been living for years.
Consequently, it is necessary that the Mexican migration policy and its institutions adopt measures in the short, medium and long-term.
According to UNHCR, the Mexican legal migration framework is one of the most advanced in the Americas. However, the process of applying the different norms or laws is hampered by lack of financial resources, problems in access to the refugee population in large cities and the lack of partners.
Therefore, UNHCR and COMAR are working on behalf of the refugee population and their integration, promoting activities to improve the dissemination of information on asylum, supporting the process of requesting asylum of unaccompanied minors to avoid the return of them and improving the legal immigration mechanisms.
Likewise, UNHCR intends to increase the capacity in reception and procedure of COMAR; In addition, it also seeks to strengthen shelter networks to improve the living conditions of refugees.
Another important point is the establishment of new institutional alliances. The UNHCR establishes that there is a 90% gap in economic resources, that is, only 10% of the money required in immigration matters is obtained. For this reason, it is a priority to find new partners or cooperators in Mexico, with the objective of being able to comply with medium and long-term strategies.
LatinAmerican Post | Bryan Andrés Murcia
Translated from: 'El desafío que representa la migración en México'