E.g., 06/17/2024
E.g., 06/17/2024
Building a Regional Migration System

Building a Regional Migration System

Migration profoundly shapes and defines the U.S. relationship with Mexico and, increasingly, much of Central America. And as humanitarian, economic, climate, and other persistent pressures and pull factors are leading to more diverse and occasionally chaotic flows, countries in the region from Canada to Panama increasingly recognize the need for a coordinated regional approach to migration management—both to promote legal, orderly, and safe migration but also to leverage its value for countries of origin and destination alike.

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 global economy.

MPI’s Building a Regional Migration System project is examining the changing landscape of migration trends and policies in the region from Canada to Panama. The work collected here aims to develop actionable ideas, suggest implementation strategies, inform stakeholders inside and outside of government, and foster dialogue across issues, sectors, and countries on shared regional priorities.

This work presents a new approach to managing regional migration that is centered around four pillars:

  • effective humanitarian protection systems,
  • targeted legal migration pathways,
  • professionalized migration management, and
  • informed investments in development and governance in countries of origin, transit, and reception.

The Regional Migration Study Group

MPI’s present-day work on regional migration builds upon the foundation set by its Regional Migration Study Group (2010-2015), which focused on migration and human-capital issues relevant to the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

During its first three-year phase, MPI and the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin America Program/Mexico Institute convened a high-level study group that over 29 publications, biannual meetings, and briefings with regional policymakers sketched the ongoing trends, challenges, and opportunities on migration and human capital facing the region.

The Study Group was 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. Its members included two dozen former government officials, civil-society leaders, and policy intellectuals from countries in the region.

The first phase of the Study Group's work culminated in 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 competitiveness.

A second phase (2014-2015) led by MPI promoted the Study Group’s recommendations with policymakers, the business sector, and others in the region, and worked on further projects to develop and certify human capital.

Learn more about the Study Group’s mission here.

Recent Activity

A Haitian man hugs his daughter in Peru.
Articles
Cover image for Migration Management and Border Security: Lessons Learned
Policy Briefs
September 2021
By  Alan D. Bersin
A caravan of migrants from Central America passes by Chiapas, Mexico.
Sentando las bases para una cooperación regional
Reports
April 2021
By  Andrew Selee, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Andrea Tanco, Luis Argueta and Jessica Bolter
Laying the Foundation for Regional Cooperation: Migration Policy and Institutional Capacity in Mexico and Central America
Reports
April 2021
By  Andrew Selee, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Andrea Tanco, Luis Argueta and Jessica Bolter

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Coverthumb US Mexico Migration English
Reports
September 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Claudia Masferrer
Coverthumb Border ControltoCrisis Report 2019
Reports
August 2019
By  Randy Capps, Doris Meissner, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Jessica Bolter and Sarah Pierce
Coverthumb ReceptionReintegration
Reports
January 2019
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas, Luis Argueta and Randy Capps
coverthumb MPI AsylumSystemInCrisis
Reports
September 2018
By  Doris Meissner, Faye Hipsman and T. Alexander Aleinikoff
coverthumb RMSG Reintegration
Reports
December 2015
By  Victoria Rietig and Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas

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EventPH 2015.09.16 WhatsNewinFarmLabor ImmigrationandtheAgriculturalSector PhilMartin
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.

EventPH 2015.09.14 ExploringInnovativeIdeastoStrengthentheGlobal ProtectionSystem
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.

CBPAgent HoldingGuard1 hires
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.

EventPH 2014.03.20 Children on the Run An Analysis of First Hand Accounts from Children Fleeing Central America
Video, Audio
March 12, 2014

This event with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres features findings from UNHCR’s report, Children on the Run, which examines the increasing numbers of children from Central America and Mexico who head off alone to find refuge in the United States, fleeing violence, insecurity, and abuse. The discussion provides analysis on the reasons behind the growing migration of this vulnerable population and offers recommendations. Read the report here.

EventPH 2014.2.14 Managing Borders in North America Charting the Future
Video, Audio
February 7, 2014

This panel discussion offers perspectives on border policy management from leading officials in the Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. governments, and showcases the MPI book, "Managing Borders in an Increasingly Borderless World."

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Recent Activity

Articles

The chaotic arrival of thousands of Haitians at the U.S.-Mexico border in September 2021 was the culmination of a journey through the Americas that began for many a decade ago. This article examines how Brazil became a refuge for many after Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, and how Haitians then moved on to Chile and other countries as conditions changed, and then onward again further north.

Policy Briefs
September 2021

What strategic lessons can be learned from the migration- and border-management challenges North America and Europe have faced in recent years? This reflection by a former high-ranking homeland security official explores a range of timely issues, including the need to rethink multilateralism and improve international cooperation, address migrant smuggling, and engage in advanced planning to avoid future crises.

Commentaries
June 2021

As the United States embarks on a new strategy to address the root causes of migration and displacement from Central America, there is much that it can learn from Europe's experience in linking up migration and development aid. This commentary examines the experience of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), drawing five key lessons directly applicable to the situation in Central America.

Articles

Tens of thousands of migrants have gone missing in Mexico in recent years, with the country having one of world's highest rates of disappeared persons. In 2015, the Mexican government created institutions to investigate these cases and work with the missing migrants' families, who are often their most vocal advocates. This article explores the reasons why migrants disappear, as well the institutions established to investigate cases and their impact.

Video, Audio, Webinars
April 15, 2021

This report release event examines migration management in Mexico and Central America, and the growing government attention to migration functions, enhanced immigration enforcement, increased investments in asylum systems and existing protection frameworks, as well as labor migration policies. This is the original audio. Speakers made their remarks in Spanish and English. There is no interpretation on this version. Spanish and English interpretations will be posted soon. 

Reports
April 2021

Los países de la región que se extiende desde Panamá hasta la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México enfrentan una importante oportunidad para fortalecer la cooperación en materia de migración. Este informe examina los pilares fundamentales que pueden sentar las bases de la cooperación regional. Además de evaluar la capacidad institucional, los marcos legales y las políticas migratorias, también identifica áreas clave en el desarrollo de capacidades.

Reports
April 2021

The countries in the region that stretches from Panama to the U.S.-Mexico border face an important opportunity to strengthen cooperation on migration. This report examines key building blocks that can lay the foundation for regional cooperation. In addition to assessing institutional capacity, legal frameworks, and migration policies, it also identifies key areas for capacity-building efforts.

Reports
December 2020

Un desafío y una oportunidad clave que enfrentará la administración de Joe Biden será cómo abordar la cooperación regional en relación a la migración. Este informe explora la evolución de la movilidad entre los Estados Unidos, México y Centroamérica y presenta una estrategia para ampliar las oportunidades en cuanto a la migración legal, abordar necesidades humanitarias, fortalecer la aplicación de la ley y mitigar algunas de las fuerzas que provocan la emigración.

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