In 2020, Mexico received 58 400 new immigrants on a long-term or permanent basis (including changes of status), 44.1% more than in 2019. This figure comprises 13% labour migrants, 37.6% family members (including accompanying family) and 34.2% humanitarian migrants. Around 2 900 permits were issued to tertiary-level international students and 10 300 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants.

Venezuela, Honduras and the United States were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2020. Among the top 15 countries of origin, Honduras registered the strongest increase (4 300) and China the largest decrease (-200) in flows to Mexico compared to the previous year.

In 2021, the number of first asylum applicants increased by 220%, to reach around 130 000. The majority of applicants came from Haiti (52 000), Honduras (36 000) and Cuba (8 300). The largest increase since 2020 concerned nationals of Haiti (46 000). Of the 58 000 decisions taken in 2021, 48% were positive.

Mexico’s migration policy aims at guaranteeing safe, orderly and regular migration with full respect for the human rights of migrants of people in human mobility. Although Mexico has collaborated with the United States at preventing northward irregular migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras from arriving at the US border, Mexico has been defending migrants’ rights and taking a humanitarian approach to economic development in order to address the structural causes of migration.

The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), was started under the Trump Administration, in early 2019, to have asylum seekers who sought to stay in the United States be sent back to Mexico while they waited for a solution to their cases in US courts. In December 2021, the Mexican Administration accepted a second phase and resumed taking the returned migrants. Faced with such decision, Mexico expressed its interest to obtain more resources for shelters, protection for vulnerable groups, consideration of local conditions of security and, shelter and care capacity of the National Institute of Migration, as well as the application of measures against COVID-19.

During 2021, there were several initiatives with the aim of reducing irregular transit, including a marked increase in the number of detentions. The National Guard, created by a presidential decree, has a clear mandate to collaborate with the National Migration Institute to carry out the migratory control, verification, and review functions in national territory.

In 2021 there was a significant increase in the volume of permanent residents in the country, compared to the volume registered in the previous four years. There was also an exponential increase in children and adolescents in an irregular migratory situation, possibly as a result of the legal reforms on children that were published in November 2020.

Additionally, Mexico and the United States announced in December 2021 Sembrando Oportunidades, a scholarship and training programme for young people from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala that allows them to find stable employment in their countries of origin.

In response to the rising number of asylum seekers, in 2021 there was in increase in the budget allocated to the Mexican Commission to Aid Refugees (Comar) mostly coming from aid from the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees and donor countries. It has largely been civil society organisations that have assumed the humanitarian tasks of operating shelters along the route, giving medical assistance, helping with legal aid, and many other forms of assistance.

Furthermore, there was progress in the actions promoted for the reintegration of Mexican returnees. In that year the Inter-institutional Strategy for Comprehensive Care for Repatriated and Returning Mexican Families was established, which aims to strengthen the public policy of the Mexican State oriented to the reintegration of repatriated and returning Mexican families.

Finally, in 2021 Mexico chaired the Regional Conference on Migration enhancing dialogue on irregular migration and promoting the International Migration Review Forum sharing good practices on its implementation.

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