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Mexico’s leadership on new migration challenges

Mexico’s leadership on new migration challenges

Mexico’s leadership on new migration challenges
December 18
16:43 2015

Por Carlos Pérez Verdia // Under Secretary for North America

As we commemorate International Migrants Day and respond to the calling of the International Organization for Migration to remember all those courageous migrants that have lost their lives looking for better opportunities for themselves and their families, world leaders are compelled to reflect upon international migration and its impact across the globe.

In the last couple of years the world has witnessed deep and simultaneous shifts that have reshaped the global landscape of international migration and the political discourse around it. The conflict in Syria has led millions to look for refuge in neighboring countries and, increasingly, further afield. Closer to home, our hemisphere has faced, in a short span, an increase of unaccompanied minors  from Central America trying to cross the border into the United States and a surge of Cuban citizens looking for new migration routes, to name only the two most prominent groups.

In some parts, these new influxes have spawned narratives full of xenophobia and exclusion. These irresponsible and dangerous statements that portray immigrants as a security concern must be stopped. Instead of vacuous statements or unrealistic proposals, we need to respond with solutions involving federal and local governments, as well as civil society and the community as a whole.

Mexico as a country of origin, transit, destination, and return of immigrants, is aware of its responsibility to address the global migration paradigm. Since the early days of his administration, President Peña Nieto has been committed to positively contribute to the solution posed by global challenges, of which migration is one. I personally embrace this matter as one of my priorities as head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a constantly shifting world, it is our responsibility to adapt to its changing nature, to think outside the box, to find viable, responsible, humane, and tailored responses to the underpinnings that explain new migration fluxes. Mexico proposes three principles to advance this goal: cooperation, coherence and innovation.

Cooperation is about creating spaces and mechanisms that allow for dialogue, the sharing of good practices and the joint quest for answers. These in turn will provide necessary conditions to implement broad and comprehensive actions.

Two decades ago, our hemisphere created the Regional Conference on Migration, a multilateral consultative forum designed to examine issues relating to international migration from a regional perspective. This year’s Conference, held in Mexico City, focused on developing shared strategies to address the needs of return migrants and their reintegration to their country of origin. Answers can also be found through cooperation at the bilateral level. Mexico and the United States recently created mechanisms for collaboration such as the Repatriation Strategy and Policy Executive Coordination Team and the Border Violence Prevention Technical Working Group. These policy actions have helped solve longstanding issues from a shared responsibility perspective.

Coherence is grounded on in the premise of treating immigrants in our country as we want our immigrants to be treated abroad. Mexico has always sought respect for its citizens in any part of the world, especially for our migrant communities and diaspora. We act accordingly and are fully committed to facilitating border community life and respecting the human rights of all immigrants, both those that migrate through our country and those who make Mexico their final destination. The Southern Border Program, aimed at increasing security, inclusion and prosperity in the Isthmus region, incorporates mechanisms for migrants to enter and work legally in our country. It also expands safety measures that protect both our citizens and migrants themselves.

Finally, policy innovation is a tool through which we must respond to the dynamic nature and constant changes of migration. Mexico has concentrated on devising and implementing modern instruments such as enhanced protocols to protect children and women, and modernized consular services, including those that take advantage of social networks and a more vibrant civil society that requires real time interaction.

Without disregarding the central importance of effective security cooperation, these three principles- cooperation, coherence and innovation- together with our common values of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for diversity, should guide our efforts to promote safe and humane international mobility in today’s challenging world.

On this day, more than ever, it is clear that governments around the world have the responsibility to think about new ways in which to deal with international migration. From our side, Mexico will commemorate International Migrants Day with a firm commitment to work to increase the well-being, empower and integrate our nationals wherever they may reside.

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