Beyond the Border: U.S.-Mexican Migration Accord Has Ushered in Sweeping Change in Mexico in Its First Year
Gerónimo Gutiérrez, former Ambassador of Mexico to the United States
Roberta Jacobson, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs
Angela Kocherga, News Director, KTEP TV in El Paso and Borderzine; Multimedia Editor, ElPasoMatters.org
Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Associate Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
Andrew Selee, President, MPI
Following months of rising Central American migration through Mexico to the United States, the U.S. and Mexican governments on June 7, 2019 signed a joint declaration pledging to work together to manage and reduce this irregular migration. The accord effectively marked a new era in the development of Mexico’s immigration enforcement and humanitarian protection systems.
To avert the imposition of tariffs on Mexican goods threatened by President Donald Trump, the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador agreed to deploy its recently created National Guard to combat illegal immigration; accepted the expansion of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP, also known as Remain in Mexico) along the entirety of the U.S.-Mexico border; and pledged to increase collaboration with the United States to disrupt migrant-smuggling networks. In turn, the Trump administration agreed to expedite asylum processing for migrants waiting in Mexico under MPP and committed to addressing the conditions driving migration by investing in economic development efforts in southern Mexico and Central America.
While the full effects of the U.S.-Mexico cooperation agreement will take years to unfold, the Migration Policy Institute has assessed the changes during the accord’s first year. Former U.S. and Mexican ambassadors, a journalist who has been covering these changes, and MPI researchers engage in discussion at the agreement’s one-year anniversary to examine how the accord has reshaped Mexico’s immigration enforcement policies. The panelists also discuss how the agreement, coupled with U.S. policies designed to narrow access to asylum and both countries’ policy responses to COVID-19, has increased demand for humanitarian protection in Mexico, exposed significant weaknesses in the systems for managing migration and protecting vulnerable migrants, and exacerbated precarious conditions for migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. As both countries face mobility challenges due to the global pandemic, speakers will also explore how these changes may affect the future of U.S.-Mexico relations.