Mexico’s Migration Policies after Fox: A Return to a ‘Policy of No Policy’?
The New School
APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper
Until recently, little attention had been paid to the role that migrant-sending states play in shaping migration flows, the impact of their migration policies in the diaspora’s activities in relation to the home country, and the bilateral or multilateral framework in which these policies and activities take place. Recent changes in the Mexican government’s policies towards the 30 million Mexican migrants living in the United States and current developments in the debate over U.S. immigration reform highlight the importance that the Mexican diaspora has acquired in both countries’ domestic politics given its size, its economic power and its growing political participation in both countries. Missing from these discussions at the academic and policy level is a systematic study of the various domestic, transnational and international factors that have historically shaped Mexico’s positions on emigration control and diaspora engagement, and their relevance in the context of the U.S.-Mexico relationship. Since 2006, with the end of the Fox administration, characterized by its activism on migration issues and its proposal for a US-Mexico migration agreement, the Mexican government has opted for a more discreet approach to these issues, particularly with regards to its position on comprehensive immigration reform. For some, this signals a return to a traditional “policy of having no policy”, while the Mexican government explains this simply as a refocusing of strategies in a new domestic and bilateral context but without changing the priority given to migration issues. Similar variations have occurred in the past based on Mexico’s considerations of economic and political conditions in Mexico as well as the status of the bilateral relationship with the United States. However, this paper argues that an unprecedented transnational context where migrants are increasingly active, both economically and politically, a bilateral context where relations between the Mexican government and US actors have expanded in the NAFTA context and an international context with increasing attention to migrants’ rights and the migration-development nexus makes a return to Mexico’s so-called “policy of having no policy” increasingly untenable.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Keywords: migration; diasporas; Mexico; migration policies; transnationalism
Working Paper Series