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Monday, January 6, 2014

2013: A Year of Achievements in Protecting Mexicans Abroad

Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs

During the first year of the current administration, the Mexican Foreign Ministry has taken various steps to strengthen the protection of Mexicans abroad. Between January 1 and December 16, 2013, the network of 51 consulates in the United States assisted with 178,214 cases of protection, while our embassies and consulates in the rest of the world assisted 3,895 citizens.

 

To improve the services provided to the public, international, bilateral and multilateral cooperation was strengthened to create synergies and exchange good practices on consular topics with 25 countries.

 

In addition, a Guide to Consular Protection was published to improve and make uniform our standards of service.

 

Protecting the rights and interests of Mexicans abroad is one of the main areas of foreign policy, as set forth in the National Development Plan 2012-2018.

 

Moreover, the Foreign Ministry brought its vision of migration up to date based on the national and international developments of the last decade. This view was set forth in a paper on "Mexico and Migration: A Vision for the Twenty-first Century," in which our country reaffirms its commitment to a model of assistance focused on the individual, that recognizes migrants as the subjects of rights and as partners in development.

 

In terms of inclusion and the gender perspective as crosscutting themes in government, the Directorate General of Protection for Mexicans Abroad has begun to train its staff in order to create a comprehensive model to give proper assistance to vulnerable groups of the Mexican population abroad.

 

Regarding the debate on immigration reform in the U.S., the Mexican government has acted strategically to encourage an informed and substantive dialogue with the various stakeholders in favor of reform. A campaign was launched to provide information and guidance to the Mexican community through forums, workshops and information sessions, legal clinics, conferences, meetings with authorities and training activities in order to prevent fraud, abuse and false expectations.

 

An Information Center for Immigration News (CIAM, 1-855-463-6395) was launched as a free hotline to provide information about the community resources available throughout the United States. From July 4 to December 16, 2013, the CIAM has received about 24,000 calls.

 

In addition, the effort to ensure family unity and the welfare and rights of vulnerable persons continues. Between January 1 and October 31, 2013, the Mexican consular network in the United States assisted in more than 14,000 cases of unaccompanied children and teens, of which 91.93% were males (12,878), 58.12% were between 12 and 16 years old (8,155) and 39.55% were 17 years old (5,540).

 

So far, the current administration has assisted in returning 296 children involved in 207 different cases in accordance with The Hague Convention. Of these, 134 children have returned to Mexico and 162 children have returned to their country of residence (including the children of Mexican parents living in the USA).

 

A workshop on "Linking Protection and Assistance for Migrant Families" was held for the Foreign Ministry delegations, State Offices for Migrants from various states, and representatives of many civil society organizations involved in the issue.

 

The young people known as dreamers have received assistance in applying for the Deferred Action program that allows them to regularize their immigration status for two years. The results have been very positive: about 146,798 potential beneficiaries of the program have been assisted. Among them, there were 11,145 cases of protection and 56,023 young people were assisted with identity papers. Compared with other nationalities, Mexicans are more likely to have their application accepted (99.6% accepted).

 

Lastly, with the goal of strengthening Mexico’s response capability, new methods of coordination have been put in place between the Mexican consulates in North America and with other strategic civil society partners.

 

Special mention should be made of the Human Rights Advisory Group for Mexicans in the United States, which involves major public interest organizations in the U.S. and optimizes available resources to better defend the rights of Mexicans in the United States and set legal precedents that benefit them.

 

All of the above are linked to the modernization and positioning of the Mexican consular network as one of the most important foreign policy achievements of our country, and to the Mexican government’s commitment to guaranteeing the rights and supporting the legitimate aspirations of the Mexicans abroad.

 

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Press release, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), Mexico, DF; translation by SRE

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