Monday, March 27, 2006
Recently some principles regarding Mexico’s migration policy were announced.
Basically, different government officials, representatives of organizations and academics who have participated in
the formation of a Mexico migration policy declared that this phenomenon must be fully understood by the state, the government
and the people, since it requires commitments and actions based on prevailing conditions.
The international implications that this phenomenon
represents for Mexico necessitate foreign actions and commitments, namely with neighboring countries and regions that in a
framework of international cooperation must be guided by a principle of shared responsibility.
Mexico’s migratory policy acknowledges that while a significant number of Mexican citizens cannot find a suitable
economic and social environment in their own country, offering them a satisfactory way of life, opportunities to develop,
and incentives to stay at home, conditions will be such that Mexicans will emigrate abroad.
The increasing ties between migration, national security
and border affairs at the world level are realities that are present in Mexico’s relations with our neighbors, making
it necessary to consider these three elements in the drafting of migratory policies.
Mexican officials and agency representatives hope
to participate, with officials in the United States, in the process of defining possible migratory reforms that would allow
regularization of undocumented migrants and a guest worker program. This while
recognizing the sovereign right of all nations to control entry, and their rules and regulations regarding stays by foreigners
in their territory.
Yet a solution must be found with respect to the
undocumented population living in the U.S., people who contribute to the development of that country. A solution that will allow those residents to integrate into the communities where they live, with the
rights and obligations this implies.
Mexico is calling for the development of a series
of incentives so that emigrants will return home. These have three basic aspects:
home purchases with payments made while the migrants are working abroad; binational medical insurance for worker’s and
their families; and a pension or individual savings system with public incentives in order to promote the return of workers
to Mexico, and the return of temporary workers to their places of origin. The
latter through programs that could include consulting services and access to credit for self-employment, or to make the land
they abandoned productive once again.
The U.S. Senate and other authorities could take
into account the contents of the full-page review recently published in several U.S. newspapers. As well, they will surely study reports like the one published by Thunderbird, The Garvin School of International
Management, titled “Economic Impact of the Mexico-Arizona Relationship.”
The Thunderbird report documents that the State of
Arizona receives net earnings of US$106 million annually from activities, taxes and purchases of Mexican residents in that
state, the figures based on a 2001 contribution of US$355.7 million, and a cost for immigrants of US$250 million.
According to the report Mexican immigrants spent
US$1.5 billion on rent and mortgages in 2001, whereas that same year Mexican tourists spent US$1.6 billion. It also says that spending by Mexican tourists created 35,200 jobs.
Migration has positive and useful aspects, and we
could be beginning a new era in recognizing responsibilities and shared attention proposals, part of an effort to find solutions
“I hope that the debate in Congress will be
civil and preserve the honor of this country, the migration debate should not be rude but rational and reflective,”
President George W. Bush said in Cleveland.
As well, the message sent to Washington from the
March 30 and 31 Cancun summit, between Presidents Bush and Vicente Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, will be
important insofar as for the first time the issue of migration will be on the presidents’ agenda.
In a bulletin issued March 21, the United Nations
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) acknowledged that migration brings benefits to sending and
receiving countries. It also noted that the number of migrants from the region
went up from 21 million in the year 2000 to 25 million in 2005. “This figure
shows the need to take steps for governance of international migration from a Latin American perspective, to facilitate mobility,
get the most from positive outsourcing, and protect the human rights of all migrants,” it said.
So, there does now appear to be a political opportunity
for imaginative proposals that could begin the process to solve many aspects of the migration phenomenon and not just address
its consequences. Hopefully the opportunity will be recognized.
Enrique Andrade, a Mexico City-based attorney and business consultant, writes a weekly
column for MexiData.info. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.