Event Description

What challenges has Mexico faced as a country of transit and destination migration, including in the context of COVID-19?   

This webinar will discuss recent trends in migration to Mexico, Mexican asylum system and migrants’ integration in local communities. Dr. Piotr Plewa (DUCIGS, Sanford) will talk with three country experts: Maureen Meyer (Washington Office for Latin America), Alejandra Macías Delgadillo (Asylum Access) and Ramón Marquez (Independent Human Rights Defender). Special attention will be given to the lesser- known Southern Mexico.  Hosted by Duke’s Dr. Piotr Plewa. 

Event Recording

Event Recap Article

With some 11.8 million Mexican migrants outside of Mexico and 1.1 million migrants in Mexico, Mexico is a country which sends significantly more migrants than it receives. Currently, Mexico remains the world’s second largest source of emigrants. As of 2020, migration between Mexico and the U.S. constituted the largest country-to-country migration flow in the world, overshadowing a much smaller (but important from a human rights perspective) migration from Latin American countries to Mexico. READ MORE

About the Speakers

Alejandra Macías Delgadillo

Executive Director, Asylum Access Mexico 

Alejandra holds a Masters in Human Rights at the Ibero-American University (Mexico City). She studied for her Law Degree in the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi Mexico. She has taken gender studies at the United Nations Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (ILANUD).   

Alejandra is Mexico’s leading expert on refugee rights and asylum law. As the founder and executive director of one of Latin America’s leading refugee rights organizations, she has made numerous appearances before the United Nations and international human rights bodies as as an authority in the field. 

Ramón Marquez

Independent Human Rights Defender 

Ramón Marquez is a human rights defender and an expert on migration issues in the southern Mexico/Northern Triangle region. Originally from Spain, in 2011 after living in several countries, he settled in Mexico. In 2015, he assumed the direction of La 72, an initiative based on the values of Franciscan spirituality that defends and promotes the rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees on the southeast border of Mexico. He combined his management work in the field with his advocacy work representing La 72 in national and international spaces such as the UN. Ramon holds a BA in History and an MA in Pedagogy from the Complutense University of Madrid. He completed his academic training as an Assistant Professor in South Carolina, United States. 

Maureen Meyer

Director for Mexico and Migrant Rights, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) 

Maureen Meyer directs WOLA’s Mexico program with a special focus on analyzing U.S.-Mexico security policies and their relation to violence, corruption, and human rights violations in Mexico. She promotes justice for human rights violations in Mexico and also carries out advocacy work regarding U.S. security assistance to Mexico. As part of the program she co-directs WOLA’s work on border security and migration and advocates for greater protections for migrants and asylum seekers in Mexico and in U.S. borderlands. 

Ms. Meyer has extensive experience addressing human rights, rule of law, security cooperation, border security and migration issues and works closely with various human rights, migrant rights, and public security organizations and networks in the region. Since 2015 she has served as a member of the Citizens’ Council of Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM). 

Before joining WOLA in 2006, Ms. Meyer lived and worked for five years in Mexico City, primarily with the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center. She has an M.A. in International Development from American University and a B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish from the University of Arizona. 

Piotr Plewa

Visiting Research Scholar, Duke University Center for International and Global Studies 

Dr. Plewa specializes in international labor migration.  He taught the subject as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Delaware and has published in academic journals including International Migration, Journal of Comparative Population Studies, and the Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. 

Most recently, Dr. Plewa authored Migration in the Maldives, the first comprehensive study of migration to the Maldives (forthcoming). The study was commissioned by International Organization for Migration and Maldivian Ministry of Economic Development as a part of a broader effort to enhance the Maldivian government’s ability to collect migration data and develop evidence-based labor migration policies.   

Prior to his work in the Maldives, Dr. Plewa gained extensive experience in migration policy research through his work for the World Bank, International Labor Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), and Poland’s Ministry of Labor. Among others, he estimated migration costs of migrant workers from several countries in Latin America, Africa and Europe to Spain, as a part of a broader World Bank – ILO effort to approximate and reduce migration costs incurred by migrant workers.  The United Nations has recently recognized the reduction of migration costs as a part of Sustainable Development Goal to reduce inequality within and among countries. 

Related Materials

Duke migration expert Piotr Plewa offers this companion snapshot of migration to Mexico 

“As Ramon Marquez, a former director of a migrant reception center in Southern Mexico explains, many Central Americans arriving in Mexico are escaping violence and economic decline, including as a result of droughts. Many migrate to reunite with their families in the U.S. as well. Economic and family reasons are not recognized by international or national laws as sufficient to grant protection, so only a small proportion of those seeking asylum in the U.S. will be granted it. Mexico, which in line with the U.S.-Mexico Migrant Protection Protocols, should be the first country where migrants may seek asylum if traveling through it, applies more liberal (link is external)eligibility requirements than the U.S. But due to better economic opportunities and family ties in the U.S., many consider Mexico a second option.” READ MORE