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Immigration Law Associates, PC

The Successful Externalization of the US Border

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A recent report by the Migration Policy Institute (“MPI”) has shed some statistical light on the trends in apprehensions and deportations of Central American migrants from the US and Mexico.  In the summer of 2014, this migration gained significant media attention, particularly due to the amount of unaccompanied minors coming from the Northern Triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador).  The Obama administration responded aggressively to the situation by partnering with the Mexican government to stem the tide of migrants before they reach the US Southern border.

These immigration management measures are known as “border externalization,” a term which has grown in usage with the latest refugee crises in Central America and Europe.  It typically consists of measures taken by receiving countries shifting the responsibility of controlling undesired migration to countries of transit.  In the case of US-Mexican collaboration, these measures were mostly channeled through Mexico’s Plan Frontera Sur. This program largely embodied the adoption of US-style immigration enforcement practices and emphasized interdiction, apprehension, detention, and deportation of Northern Triangle migrants transiting Mexico on their way to the US.

The MPI report gives clear-cut statistical indication of the US border externalization into Mexico.  According to the MPI, the US and Mexico have apprehended near to 1 million Central American migrants in the past five years.  In the 2014 fiscal year the US apprehended 239,000 Northern Triangle migrants, and Mexico only 102,000.  After the successful implementation of these programs, the numbers have reversed.  In the 2015 fiscal year US apprehensions are on pace to drop by half (110,000), while Mexican apprehensions are projected to grow by 70 percent (173,000).  This change is likely driven by the increasingly aggressive border enforcement measures implemented by the Mexican government since 2014.

You can read the MIP report at:

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