E.g., 08/14/2022
E.g., 08/14/2022
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

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Fact Sheets
February 2013
By  Allison Squires and Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez
Cover RMSG Agriculture
Reports
February 2013
By  Philip Martin and J. Edward Taylor
Cover RMSG_Nursing Sector
Reports
February 2013
By  Allison Squires and Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez
Cover_RMSG SeleeArnsonOlson
Reports
January 2013
By  Andrew Selee, Cynthia J. Arnson and Eric L. Olson
Cover_RMSG BorderInsecurity
Reports
November 2012
By  Ralph Espach and Daniel Haering

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Recent Activity

Fact Sheets
February 2013

El sector agrícola en los EE.UU., México y Centroamérica se encuentra en medio de una transformación desde hace décadas. La demanda para cultivos intensivos en mano de obra, es decir, frutas, nueces, verduras, melones y especialidades hortícolas, como flores y setas (productos FVH, por sus siglas en inglés), está aumentando junto con la población y el crecimiento de los ingresos en la región.

Reports
February 2013

This study explores the intersecting dynamics of evolving demographic trends, shifting epidemiological profiles, and worker migration in five countries in the Americas to develop policy recommendations for health workforce development, specifically for nursing personnel. Countries highlighted are El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the U.S.

Reports
February 2013

This report assesses trends in U.S., Central American, and Mexican agriculture and their implications for farm labor markets, including the demand for skills and its effects on education and workforce development. 

Reports
January 2013

This report examines trends in manufacturing – with a focus on advanced manufacturing – in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and the United States. Although these countries’ manufacturing histories and contexts are different, the sectors are increasingly interdependent, and the sector potentially holds great promise for improving individual livelihoods and overall regional competitiveness.

Reports
January 2013

The U.S. government has increased its attention to public security issues in Mexico and Central America since 2007. This report suggest the policy emphasis has begun to shift away from the earlier focus on combating drug trafficking and transnational crime toward addressing the citizen security crisis.

Reports
January 2013

Over the past two decades, governing institutions in Mexico and parts of Central America have proven too primitive to cope with the volatility of democratic transitions. Organized crime has taken over key activities of various levels of government and corruption has become more entrenched. These regions must face the challenge of building democratic institutions capable of engaging in good governance.

Reports
December 2012

Crime and insecurity are undermining economic and social prosperity in Mexico and Central America, eroding public trust in government institutions. This report examines current economic, social, and political costs resulting from insecurity, and future implications.

Reports
November 2012

The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has dramatically increased the risks that migrants crossing the region face. As this report outlines, migrants increasingly are forced to seek the assistance of intermediaries, and those unable to afford one are more likely to be abused along the way.

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