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How Mexico and the United States Are Working Behind the Scenes on Immigration

While the Trump administration has seemingly back off on pushing Mexico to pay for a multibillion dollar wall along the border, it is still working with the Mexican government to hammer out deals on the contentious issue of immigration.

Since Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office on December 1, 2018, officials from both Mexico and the United States have worked on solutions to better manage the flow of migrants going northward from Central America, crossing into Mexico and then into the U.S.

At present, both countries have arrived at a dual-track approach, which involves:

  • One, a collaborative multi-year strategy that will create new economic opportunities in Central America, giving potential migrants a reason to stay in their home countries/regions
  • Two, a series of de facto steps to address migrant flows approaching the U.S.-Mexico border, such as the recent caravan of people from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, which made it all the way to Tijuana in November

While officials from both countries still disagree over several key elements of migration policy, they are nevertheless working to find realistic solutions to manage the flow and safety of migrants seeking asylum in the United States, all while ensuring that any effects on border operations and the economy are kept to a minimum.

Strategy to Address the Cause of Migration in Central America

On December 18, 2018, Mexico and the U.S. announced an ambitious plan to address the root causes of migration in Central America, starting with a strategy to promote job creation and economic growth. Both governments pledged to invest billions of dollars on this front and encourage their respective private sectors to support this effort.

As part of this initiative, officials from Mexico and the U.S. will hold a ministerial meeting early this year to establish a task force and organize a business summit to launch a massive economic project in in southern Mexico and Central America’s “Northern Triangle,” which includes El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The announcement signals what is by far the most ambitious attempt to solve the deeply-rooted problem of mass migration, culminating in what is hoped to be a “zone of prosperity” in these two regions, empowering local residents to improve their lives without having to seek asylum or enter the United States unlawfully.

Commitments by the United States

As a show of its commitment to solve its migration woes in a holistic manner, the U.S. government pledged $2 billion in investments for the public and private sectors in southern Mexico through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Another $5.8 billion in funding will also go to existing programs in Central America that address security, governance, and economic development.

If you would like to learn more about this latest update to U.S. immigration policy, or have a loved one seeking immigration assistance, don’t hesitate to sit down for a consultation with the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today at (512) 215-5225 to talk to immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.

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