This final report by the Regional Migration Study Group outlines the powerful demographic, economic, and social forces reshaping Mexico and much of Central America and changing longstanding migration dynamics with the United States. The Study Group, co-chaired by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, and former Guatemalan Vice President and Foreign Minister Eduardo Stein, offers a forward-looking, pragmatic agenda for the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — focusing on new collaborative approaches on migration and human-capital development to strengthen regional competitiveness.
The report caps a 2 ½-year initiative that focused on extensive consultations with policymakers and civil society in the region; produced more than two dozen research reports, policy briefs, and briefing papers; and involved extensive deliberations by Study Group members. The final report offers 14 findings and recommendations for policymakers in the region, some focused on the current US legislative debate, others directed at Mexico and Central America.
The report notes that there have been no systematic conversations about what a regional approach to migration might look like since discussions initiated by Presidents Bush and Fox were derailed by the 9/11 attacks. Yet few issues shape and define the US relationship with Mexico and Central America as much as migration. And with an estimated 14.3 million immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras living in the United States — representing more than one-third of the foreign-born population overall and nearly three-quarters of unauthorized immigrants — US immigration policy has significant regional implications.
Getting migration and related issues right is vital to the region’s long-term economic growth, prosperity, social order and security — and, in many ways, its competitiveness in a fast-changing, interdependent global economy.
Ernesto Zedillo, Former Mexican President and Secretary of Education; Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.
... Carlos Gutierrez, Former US Secretary of Commerce; Vice Chairman, Institutional Clients Group, Citigroup Inc.
... Eduardo Stein, Former Vice President and Foreign Minister of Guatemala; Coordinator, Truth Commission of Honduras.
Demetrios Papademetriou, President, Migration Policy Institute; Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Migration.
... Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow, MPI; former Commissioner, US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
... Andrew Selee, Director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute.
Strengthening Health Systems in North and Central America: What Role for Migration? By Allison Squires and Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez
International nurse migration is a multibillion-dollar global phenomenon. Historically, Mexicans and Central Americans have not played a significant part in the migration of nurses to the United States. This report examines the health care sector in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the United States, reviewing their health care systems, demand for services, epidemiological profiles, and demographics. Using migration to meet health care demand is complex; it does, however, hold the potential for benefits to health care systems, economies, and patient outcomes. Download Report | Spanish-Language Brief
Ripe with Change: Evolving Farm Labor Markets in the United States, Mexico, and Central America By Philip Martin and J. Edward Taylor
Mexico is in the transitional phase of being both farm labor exporter and importer: serving as the major supplier of hired labor to US farms but increasingly also relying on farm workers from Guatemala. This report examines the labor market dynamics of the region, focusing on changes in the volume and composition of production, the supermarket revolution in Latin America, training and education changes, and more. It assesses the implications of these changes on workers and migration. Download Report | Spanish-Language Brief
Manufacturing in the United States, Mexico, and Central America: Implications for Competitiveness and Migration By Peter A. Creticos and Eleanor Sohnen
The manufacturing sector is a significant source of employment for workers from Mexico and Central America's Northern Triangle — with an estimated 17 percent employed in manufacturing in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, and immigrants from these countries making up 8 percent of the US manufacturing workforce. This report examines how aggressive manufacturing-attraction strategies have benefited the economies of Mexico, and to a lesser extent, the Northern Triangle. Yet the achievements of the maquiladora development strategy have masked important flaws that threaten to stymie the promise of even greater economic growth. The report outlines the need for the regional workforce to gain the skills to compete with counterparts in advanced manufacturing regions such as northern Europe and Japan, as well as for credentialing standards, training systems, and outcome measures that are comparable to those in industrialized economies. Download Report| Spanish-Language Brief
Crime and Violence in Mexico and Central America: An Evolving but Incomplete US Policy Response By Andrew Selee, Cynthia J. Arnson, and Eric L. Olson
Amid dramatic increases in crime and violence in Mexico and Central America, the US government has significantly increased its attention to public security issues in the region since 2007, with the Merida Initiative and the Central American Regional Security Initiative. The US policy response has been hampered to an extent, however, by US and regional obstacles. The authors suggest the policy emphasis has begun to shift in important ways, with more attention paid to addressing the citizen security crisis — a move away from the earlier near-total focus on combating drug trafficking and transnational crime. Download Report