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Report: U.S. & Mexico Should Jointly Address Immigration Issues

As a new Mexican president prepares to take office, U.S.-Mexico collaboration on Central American migration could be strained.

Undocumented immigrant children at a U.S. Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, Texas.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Undocumented immigrant children at a U.S. Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, Texas.

A new report from Rice’s Mexico Center shows how a strained U.S.-Mexico relationship could impact Central American migration, including the well-being of unaccompanied minors.


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Mexico Center researcher Pamela Cruz said though in the past the two countries have worked together to curb Central American migration, they may now be poised to clash on these issues.

"The Trump administration has said that Mexico does nothing for us at the border and that is a false statement," said Cruz.

In 2014, Mexico implemented a policy aimed partially at deterring Central American migration to the United States called the Southern Border Program (Plan Frontera Sur).

"Mexico has deported more than half a million Central Americans, and that has sometimes has even surpassed U.S. deportation figures in some years," said Cruz.

In 2014, Mexico deported 77 percent of unaccompanied minors while the U.S. deported 3 percent, according to the report.

Now, new Mexican leadership could limit regional cooperation on immigration policies.

According to Cruz, incoming Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has made comments against cooperating with President Trump on immigration.

Cruz said that without both countries working together, unaccompanied migrant children will be left more vulnerable.

Of the 7,326 unaccompanied minors detained in 2017 in Mexico, 259 sought asylum while 7,103 were returned to their countries of origin.

In Fiscal Year 2018, 45, 704 unaccompanied minors were apprehended at the U.S. border with Mexico.