WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
14 Mar 2014 | Video

Mexico’s National Institute of Migration: Migrant Rights and the Need for Reform


Dr. Sonja Wolf

Researcher, Institute for Security and Democracy


Moderated by

Maureen Meyer

Senior Associate, Washington Office on Latin America


Friday, March 14

9:30 a.m.—11:00 a.m.

Washington Office on Latin America

1666 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 400

Washington, DC 20009

It is estimated that around 400,000 migrants transit through Mexico every year. The governmental agency responsible for regulating migration in Mexico—and for ensuring migrants’ safety—is the National Institute of Migration (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM). In recent years, reports of widespread corruption and abuse by INM agents have plagued the agency. In 2013, Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, CNDH) received 454 complaints of human rights violations by INM officials. The INM has also failed in its mandate to protect migrants from violence and abuse. Migrant shelters across Mexico have received testimonies from migrants describing widespread incidents of extortion, kidnapping, and other abuses committed by both criminal groups and state agents, including federal, state, and local police officials, INM officials, and members of the Mexican military.

In 2013, the Institute for Security and Democracy (Instituto para la Seguridad y la Democracia, Insyde), a civil society organization based in Mexico, carried out a comprehensive assessment of the INM to better understand its procedures to verify status, detain, and repatriate migrants, its efforts to protect migrants, and its management structure. The assessment confirmed that the INM, which has received over US$100 million in assistance from the United States through the Mérida Initiative, has severe structural deficiencies that put into question its capacity to implement Mexico’s migration laws and protect the rights of migrants in transit.

This event is sponsored by the Institute for Security and Democracy, the Latin America Working Group Education Fund, and the Washington Office on Latin America