The lost path: regulating transit illegal immigration on Mexico’s southern border
Pérez Casanova, Gaspar M.
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This thesis focuses on the efforts that the Mexican government has made for the regulation of illegal immigration in transit through the country. This study explores the origins and trends of Central American migration, the complexity of Mexico’s southern border, and the reasons for the failure of plans and programs implemented by three different administrations to regulate and protect migration flows. It finds that those plans and programs failed because Mexico did not perceive the control of Central American illegal immigration as an end; instead, it has been used to foster foreign policy objectives or to respond to second-order effects produced by the war against organized crime. Since 2000, Mexican administrations have faced different realities, both domestic and international, which have shaped their response for border management and the regulation of illegal immigration. Security and the reordering of regional migration flows have been the priorities, relegating transit migration to a second plane. Mexico has accomplished important advances to give certainty and protection to illegal immigrants, but an integral and effective framework to regulate migration is lacking. Processes of planning, implementation, and evaluation of migration policies are barely defined, and the implementation of plans and programs is ineffective due to institutional weaknesses. The regulation of transit migration in Mexico is an unresolved issue.
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