E.g., 09/25/2016
E.g., 09/25/2016

Regional Migration Study Group

Regional Migration Study Group

The Regional Migration Study Group is an MPI-led initiative that aims to promote human-capital development in North and Central America as a key to strengthening the competitiveness of the region as a whole.

Why?

Migration shapes and defines the U.S. relation­ship with Mexico and, increasingly, much of Central America to an extraordinary degree. Thus, getting migration and the issues that fuel and surround it right is vital to the region’s long-term stability, prosperity, and its competitiveness in a fast-changing and unforgiving global economy. Yet prior to the Study Group’s inception in 2010 there were few systematic conversa­tions about what a collaborative, regional approach to these issues might look like.

What Has Been Done?

In the three years since its founding, the Regional Migration Study Group—consisting of two dozen former officials, civil-society leaders, policy intellectuals, and specialists in the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and co-chaired by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, and former Guatemalan Vice President and Foreign Minister Eduardo Stein—has pursued its mission to develop and promote a longer-term vision of how to build a stronger social and economic foundation for the region by enhancing the region’s human-capital infrastructure.

The Study Group's First Phase

The first phase of the Study Group's work culminated with a final report that outlines the powerful demographic, economic, and social forces reshaping Mexico and much of Central America and changing longstanding migration dynamics with the United States. With 14 findings and recommendations for policymakers in the region, the report offers a forward-looking, pragmatic agenda, focusing on new collaborative approaches on migration and human-capital development to strengthen regional competitiveness. Read the final report here.

In the Study Group’s first phase (2010-2013), MPI joined forces with the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin America Program/Mexico Institute, a partnership that was named one of the top 20 collaborative relationships among think tanks by the 2013 Global Go To Think Tank Index, published by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. In the same ranking, the Study Group’s ground-breaking report Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America was named the 11th best report in the world produced by a think tank in 2012-2013.

This core report marked the culmination of the Study Group members’ thinking and analysis, laid out in 29 publications (21 reports, and a special issue of eight articles in MPI’s online journal, the Migration Information Source), biannual formal meetings, and regular meetings and briefings with policymakers throughout the region.

The key lesson from this work is that building up the region’s human capital—through education and workforce development reforms that gradually develop common standards in key sectors across the region—will offer better economic opportunities for the region’s citizens, creating an engine for growth in each country and strengthening the region’s competitiveness.

What Is Next?

Today, in the second phase, the Study Group promotes its recommendations with policymakers, the business sector, and civil society in the region, and works on further projects to develop and certify human capital. Focus issues that guide the thinking in 2015 and beyond are human-capital development in high-growth sectors with large pools of available jobs in the middle-skill range. Vocational and technical education skills are key in 21st century labor markets where jobs for workers are not necessarily secured by attaining the highest educational levels, but by making smarter educational choices. 

Going forward, the Study Group is identifying, analyzing, and promoting regional efforts for the harmonization of qualifications and standards across North and Central America. Expected benefits from adopting common regional standards—including in education, program accreditation, and licensure and registration regulations—abound: Increased quality of educational standards, greater collaboration and knowledge exchange across borders through the building of denser networks between educational and training institutions, and the potential for greater mobility are among the low-hanging fruits common standards can create.

For these fruits to ripen in the future, however, collaboration across sectors is indispensable. The Study Group gives special emphasis to concrete on-the-ground initiatives in the region, fostering an inclusive approach that brings together stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, governments, and intergovernmental organizations alike. Combined with high-level consultations with the regions’ key policymakers, the Study Group works to shape the discussion around complex issues of human-capital development, and to provide policy recommendations grounded in nonpartisan research, delivering facts and evidence. 

 

Recent Activity

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Fact Sheets
February 2013
By Philip Martin and J. Edward Taylor
Fact Sheets
February 2013
By Peter A. Creticos and Eleanor Sohnen
Fact Sheets
February 2013
By Allison Squires and Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez
Online Journal

Mexican immigration to the United States has slowed in recent years, and since the Great Recession more Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico than have migrated to the United States. Mexicans, however, remain the largest origin group in the country, accounting for 28 percent of all immigrants. See how Mexican immigrants compare to the overall foreign- and U.S.-born populations on key indicators with this Spotlight article.

Video, Audio
December 15, 2015

An MPI Leadership Visions discussion with the Foreign Minister of Mexico, Claudia Ruiz-Massieu, for her first public appearance in Washington, DC. 

Webinars
December 11, 2015

A webinar releasing a report examining deportations to Central America and reception and reintegration services in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Video, Audio
September 16, 2015

An expert discussion on the findings of the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) related to immigrants, along with an overview of farm labor in 2015 and discussion on how current and possible future immigration policies might impact immigrant workers in the agricultural sector.

Video, Audio
September 14, 2015

A discussion, including the former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, examining the huge strains on the global protection system and how it can better respond to protracted refugee situations and other long-term displacement, focusing on the conclusions of the Transatlantic Council on Migration's recent meeting, Beyond Asylum: Rethinking Protection Policies to Meet Sharply Escalating Needs.

Video, Audio
September 3, 2015
This webinar includes an overview of regional immigration enforcement trends, including U.S. and Mexican apprehensions and deportations of Central American migrants, along with a demographic, socioeconomic, and criminal profile of child and adult deportees.

Pages

Recent Activity

Video, Audio
December 15, 2015

An MPI Leadership Visions discussion with the Foreign Minister of Mexico, Claudia Ruiz-Massieu, for her first public appearance in Washington, DC. 

Webinars
December 11, 2015

A webinar releasing a report examining deportations to Central America and reception and reintegration services in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Reports
December 2015

For a growing population of migrants deported from Mexico and the United States to Central America, the conditions upon return typically are worse than when they left, setting up a revolving-door cycle of migration, deportation, and remigration. This report provides a detailed profile of reception and reintegration services offered in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to deported migrants, examining their challenges and opportunities for improvement. 

Video, Audio
September 16, 2015

An expert discussion on the findings of the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) related to immigrants, along with an overview of farm labor in 2015 and discussion on how current and possible future immigration policies might impact immigrant workers in the agricultural sector.

Video, Audio
September 14, 2015

A discussion, including the former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, examining the huge strains on the global protection system and how it can better respond to protracted refugee situations and other long-term displacement, focusing on the conclusions of the Transatlantic Council on Migration's recent meeting, Beyond Asylum: Rethinking Protection Policies to Meet Sharply Escalating Needs.

Video, Audio, Webinars
September 3, 2015
This webinar includes an overview of regional immigration enforcement trends, including U.S. and Mexican apprehensions and deportations of Central American migrants, along with a demographic, socioeconomic, and criminal profile of child and adult deportees.
Reports
September 2015

This report examines the rising numbers of apprehensions and deportations of Central American children and adults by the United States and Mexico, and provides a demographic, socioeconomic, and criminal profile of deportees to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The report traces how rising Mexican enforcement is reshaping regional dynamics and perhaps ushering in changes to long-lasting trends in apprehensions.

Reports
August 2015

The in-country refugee processing program launched in Central America by the Obama administration in December 2014 as a response to rising unaccompanied child migration may provide a legal, safe alternative to undertaking dangerous, unauthorized journeys to the United States, albeit a limited one. This report examines the Central American Minors Refugee/Parole Program, as well as the history and track record of prior U.S. in-country processing programs.

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