Mexico

59,155

Immigration detainees

2020

53,507

Detained children

2019

70,366

New asylum applications

2019

28,517

Refugees

2019

1,060,707

International migrants

2019

Overview

(February 2021) Mexico has one of the largest immigration detention systems in the world, employing several dozen detention centres—euphemistically called estaciones migratorias—and detaining tens of thousands of people every year. Intense pressure from the United States and continuing migration from turmoil-wracked Central America have helped drive up detention numbers, which surpassed 180,000 in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic further stressed the country’s migration response. It temporarily released most detainees after the onset of the pandemic even as the United States continued deporting both Mexican and third-country nationals to Mexico. In late 2020, the country adopted reforms to its migration law prohibiting the detention of all children, though many observers expressed scepticism over whether it would be respected.

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

02 November 2020

A U.S. Customs and Border Officer Guiding Asylum-Seeking Migrants Across a Bridge from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, into the U.S., (Fernando Llano, Associated Press,
A U.S. Customs and Border Officer Guiding Asylum-Seeking Migrants Across a Bridge from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, into the U.S., (Fernando Llano, Associated Press, "U.S. Expels Migrant Children From Other Countries to Mexico," The New York Times, 30 October 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/30/us/migrant-children-expulsions-mexico.html)

The National Institute for Migration (INM) has denied that there are COVID-19 cases amongst immigration detainees. However, Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has revealed that at least 19 Honduran detainees confined in the Tapachula Estacion Migratoria (Siglo XXI) detention centre in Chiapas have tested positive. The CNDH also reported that the facility is overcrowded, that face masks are not distributed, that social distancing is not adhered to, and that no antibacterial gel is provided for detainees to use. The 19 infected detainees were reportedly transferred to the El Hueyate Estacion Provisional detention centre after their cases were detected.

Having previously taken steps to minimise overcrowding by releasing significant numbers of immigration detainees (see 3 June Mexico update on this platform), non-nationals are once again being arrested and detained in facilities across the country. Despite the fact that immigration detainees have tested positive, and at least one non-national has died since the onset of the pandemic, media outlets have reported that no agency has been regularly testing detained migrants. Civil society organisations have denounced this and urged authorities to step up medical monitoring and to ensure that assistance is available. In a report, several NGOs highlighted the fact that only one detention facility--the Saltillo Estacion Migratoria--has 24-hour medical service in operation, and that the supply of soap and water in many facilities remains “very limited.”

An internal email from a senior US border control agent obtained by the New York Times revealed that migrant children from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador have been sent to Mexico--despite their lack of family connections in the country. These expulsions have taken place under the Trump administration’s aggressive border closure policy, cited as a necessary step to prevent the virus from spreading into the U.S. However, these expulsions appear to violate a diplomatic agreement between the two countries, which provides that only Mexican children and others who have adult supervision can be pushed back into Mexico after attempting to cross the border. The Times reports that most of the children have been put into the care of child welfare authorities in Mexico.

In June 2019, Mexico and the United States signed an agreement to work together to control the movements of asylum seekers and other migrants to the U.S border. The agreement expanded the implementation of the “Quédate en México” (Remain in Mexico) programme (officially known as Migrant Protection Protocols). As of August 2020, around 65,877 people were returned from the US to Mexico, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, US deportations have continued on the basis of Title 42 Section 265 of the U.S. Federal Code, which provides that the executive can prohibit entrance of people and/or goods based on a determination that this would represent a “serious danger of the introduction” of a disease. The US has used this provision to adopt a policy that for reasons of public health, undocumented persons that cross the U.S. border may be deported from the country without initiating deportation legal proceedings as provided by U.S. immigration law. According to a report published by a group of NGOs, this policy, implemented on 21 March 2020, has been extended indefinitely. From March to end of July 2020, more than 105,000 people were expelled from the United States under this provision. In addition, the report found that since the start of the pandemic only 59 people had been referred to asylum officials to assess non-refoulement claims out of 40,000 expulsions. Of these 59, only two were subsequently allowed to apply for asylum in the U.S.


23 June 2020

Migrants Waiting for their Turn at an Immigration Office at the Guatemala-Mexico Border, (AFP,
Migrants Waiting for their Turn at an Immigration Office at the Guatemala-Mexico Border, (AFP, "4 Novedades de la Caravana Migrante que Partió de Honduras a Estados Unidos," BBC News, 18 January 2019, https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-46914252)

Responding to the Global Detention Project survey, Mexico’s immigration authority, the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM), did not provide answers to the survey question but responded with an explanation of measures taken to protect detained migrants from Covid-19 contagion.

The INM explained that on 4 March, their officials at all different levels, including those working in detention centres (estancias y estaciones migratorias), were made aware of measures they should be taken to minimise the risks of infection. On 17 March, all immigration authority staff were informed of the work undertaken by the Mexican government to prevent the spread of the disease.

The INM provided a list of recommendations that were provided to staff and detainees in Mexico’s immigration detention centres. These include:

- Avoiding close contact with ill-persons;
- Avoid touching one’s eyes, mouth and nose;
- Remaining at home if one is ill;
- Covering one’s mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing;
- Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces which are frequently used, with cleaning products;
- Using face-masks;
- Frequently washing one’s hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds, especially after eating, going to the bathroom and sneezing or coughing;
- If no water or soap are available, using disinfectant to wash one’s hands;
- Taking one’s temperature three times a day;
- Constantly cleaning the centres;
- Strictly monitoring cooking facilities and staff must follow hygiene protocols including, using masks and gloves to protect food from contamination;
- Serving food at different times to avoid overcrowding during breakfast, lunch and dinner times;
- Avoiding grouping people so as to respect social distancing; and
- Consistently disinfecting phones that are used by detainees and staff members.

The INM also mentioned that a protocol on procedures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and measures to take in case of infection within immigration detention centres was published on their website in April (listed as a source below).

The Mexican immigration authority said that following recommendations by Mexican health authorities as well as national and international human rights organisations, vulnerable groups were released from detention. The INM mentioned that religious institutions have accommodated many released migrants in their facilities.


03 June 2020

Migrants Waiting to be Returned to their Countries of Origin Following their Release from Immigration Detention Centres, (Reuters,
Migrants Waiting to be Returned to their Countries of Origin Following their Release from Immigration Detention Centres, (Reuters, "Segob confirma el desalojo de 3,759 migrantes de las estaciones migratorias para evitar brotes de Covid-19," El Economista, 28 April 2020, https://www.eleconomista.com.mx/politica/Segob-confirma-el-desalojo-de-3759-migrantes-de-las-estaciones-migratorias-para-evitar-brotes-de-Covid-19-20200428-0102.html)

Responding to the Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, the UN human rights (OHCHR) country office in Mexico reported that while the country had not adopted a moratorium on new immigration detention orders it had released most people detained for migration-related reasons. Responding to the same survey, the Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova AC also confirmed that there was a decrease in the amount of people placed in immigration detention. The number of detainees fell from 2,940 in March to 1,532 in April and then to less than 292 by the start of May. As of 29 May, there were 234 people detained in the 65 immigration detention centres (estaciones migratorias) in the country, which have a total capacity of 8,524 spaces.

In its response, Fray Matías emphasized the fact that not all detainees had been released. Certain groups of people remain in detention, including those:
- with ongoing court cases;
- with some type of immigration alert;
- detained while their immigration status was being verified (this process can last for up to a week) or while their asylum application is being processed; and
- returned from the United States from third countries.

Regarding the last category of detainees, Mexico has accepted to take Central American migrants and refugees and place them in immigration detention centres. Fray Matías explained that in certain cases, these people were not placed in temporary isolation and no health checks were undertaken, considerably increasing the risk of spreading infection.

Despite the releases from detention, the OHCHR country office said that authorities had failed to adhere to human rights standards in the treatment of people after they were released. Most returns to Central American countries, usually conducted via land, were blocked because Guatemala’s borders had been closed. The border closures and ensuing riots that took place in immigration detention centres as fears about contagion spread among detainees (see the 7 April Mexico update on this platform) spurred Mexico’s immigration authority (Instituto Nacional de Migracion, or INM) to start releasing people and transporting them a few kilometers from the border with Guatemala, where they were abandoned. Fray Matías also said that they had received information stating that migrants and asylum seekers released from detention had been abandoned or deported to their countries of origin, which may violate the principle of non-refoulement. Some of the released migrants were transferred to civil society shelters, putting the people already accommodated in those facilities at risk of contagion. The OHCHR Mexico country office said that migrants were not being tested for Covid-19 and they were unable to confirm whether any measures had been taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 amongst released migrants. Fray Matías said that according to information provided directly from released detainees, upon arrival to the detention centres, migrants and asylum seekers are asked a few questions regarding Covid-19 symptoms, they are then placed in isolation for a few hours and later, they join the general population.

Responding to the Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, Fray Matías said that the INM was using certain “alternatives to detention” for asylum seekers. However, the organisation said that this was not an effective measure as they were not released within the context of a regularisation programme or humanitarian aid program. Asylum seekers may be left homeless and without support as civil society shelters are overcrowded and do not receive much government support.

The OHCHR Mexico country office also reported that deporations were not completely suspended for migrants arriving from Central America and that 4,935 persons had been returned during the period 21 March to 29 May (2,461 were returned by air to Honduras, 406 to El Salvador, and 67 to Nicaragua, as well as 2,001 via land routes to Guatemala).

Prior to the release of most immigration detainees (see 29 April Mexico update on this platform), on 17 April, following a legal action supported by more than 40 civil society organisations, a first instance Court ordered the immediate release of vulnerable detainees held in immigration detention centres and that they be provided with a temporary status which would allow them to access health care. The Court also ordered the INM to develop a report detailing the number of persons detained as well as a strategy for migrants and asylum seekers to be able to benefit from economic support.


29 April 2020

On 26 April, Mexico’s Secretaría de Gobernación, through the National Institute of Migration (INM), ordered the immediate release of migrants detained in the country’s immigration detention centres (estaciones/estancias migratorias) to avoid the spread of Covid-19. The announcement came nearly a week after the UN human rights commissioner (OHCHR) urged Mexico to temporarily suspend deportations and to establish mechanisms to protect migrants and ensure they are provided with support. Yet, on 26 April, the INM stated that it had returned 3,653 Central American migrants by land to Guatemala and by air to Honduras and El Salvador.

The INM also announced that during the month of March 2020, there were 3,759 migrants detained in the country’s 65 detention centres and “shelters,” (albergues) which have a total capacity of 8,524 spaces. As of 26 April 2020, 106 migrants were still held in the country’s detention facilities. Amnesty International and the United Nations have expressed their concerns for the lack of sanitary measures in Mexico’s detention centres. The INM has nonetheless informed that no Covid-19 cases had been registered in their facilities and that necessary measures to avoid contagion and to detect possible Covid-19 symptoms were in place.

Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard, stated on 20 March that Mexico would receive migrants returned from the United States. It is estimated that around 1,250 migrants will be returned daily, with the majority being Mexican citizens and around 125 central americans. On 20 April, the state of Tamaulipas reported that a total of 16 migrants deported from the United States had tested positive for Covid-19. The same scenario took place in Guatemala on 19 April when 50 migrants deported from the United States were diagnosed with Covid-19 upon their arrival.


07 April 2020

Migrants Wait in Front of the Chiapas Immigration Detention Centre March 2020
Migrants Wait in Front of the Chiapas Immigration Detention Centre March 2020

With one of the largest immigration detention systems in the world, Mexico faces an enormous task in trying to protect the tens of thousands of people locked up in its “estaciones migratorias” from contracting Covid-19. Even as the country’s leadership downplayed the risks of the pandemic, some key actors in the country began expressing alarm early on about the risks to immigration detainees. By early April the calls for urgent action began growing louder as violence spread in detention centres across the country.

On 17 March 2020, Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission issued a press release requesting that urgent actions be taken to avoid overcrowding and the spread of Covid-19 within the detained migrant population. The Commission urged the federal government to provide information to detainees on preventive measures against Covid-19; provide the necessary health products and supplies and carry out permanent monitoring and supervision of detainees, in particular those most vulnerable to suffer from the disease. The country’s immigration authority, the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM), reportedly applied some measures to avoid contamination such as the provision of hygiene supplies and installation of special filters.

On 25 March, a detention monitoring coalition consisting of several NGOs issued a press release denouncing alleged violence used by the National Guard to suppress a demonstration by detainees at the country’s massive Siglo XXi detention centre in Chiapas, near the Guatemalan border.

On 1 April 2020, a detainee died and 14 were hospitalised during a protest at the Tenosique immigration detention centre. The detainees were requesting their return to their countries of origin for fear of contracting Covid-19 while in detention.

On 2 April 2020, a large group of concerned individuals, NGOs, and academics issued an open letter demanding the urgent release of all immigration detainees in the country, citing the threat of Covid-19, deaths in detention centres, and the “negligent” behaviour of the INM and security forces.

Amnesty International also urged Mexican authorities on 2 April to release immigration detainees, but warned that given the fact that migrants and refugees are prime targets for exploitation and violence in Mexico, authorities must ensure that those released have access to key services, as well as care and safety.

The Fray Matias Human Rights Centre, which is based near the border with Guatemala, said in an interview with El Pais, that one critical concern is that advocates assisting migrants are unable to keep up with their efforts because of the impact of the virus, leaving them at greater risk of violence and exploitation. A Fray Matias advisor said that migrants and refugees who are crossing the border seem less concerned with the virus than with the other dangers to their safety that they are fleeing from in their home countries as well as confronting during their migration journeys.


Last updated: February 2021

Mexico Immigration Detention Profile

 

 

KEY FINDINGS

  • Mexico detained more than 180,000 people for migration-related reasons in 2019, one of the highest totals in the world that year and among the highest on record for Mexico.
  • As of 2020, the country was operating nearly 60 long- and short-term immigration detention centres.
  • In contrast to many other important migrant detaining countries, Mexico does not impose criminal sanctions for unauthorised entry or stay, nor does it use prisons or other criminal justice-related facilities for migration enforcement purposes.
  • Mexican law and policy employ euphemisms to denote migration-related detention practices: detention centres are called estaciones migratorias (“migration stations”); placing a person in a detention centre is called presentación (or “presenting” a migrant at a facility); and taking a migrant into custody is sometimes described as an operativo de rescate de migrantes (“migrants rescue operation”).
  • In late 2020, the country adopted reforms to its migration law prohibiting the detention of children, which some observers greeted with scepticism because of the prominence of this practice in Mexico—which detained more than 50,000 children in 2019—and its failure to adhere to previously existing child detention prohibitions.
  • After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, detainees staged protests across the country over the poor sanitary conditions in detention centres. By the end of April 2020, most migrant detainees had been released as the total population of detainees dropped from 3,759 in March 2020 to 106 by 26 April 2020.

1.  INTRODUCTION[1]

Mexico has a complex migratory situation. It is a major source country, with tens of millions of nationals living in the United States and elsewhere; an important transit state for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers from across Latin America and other parts of the world seeking to cross Mexico en route to the United States; and a destination country for labour migrants and refugees.

Although Mexican officials sometimes espouse a humanitarian view of migrants crossing their country, including the populist government of President Lopez Obrador that took power in 2018,[2] the country has nevertheless developed one of the world’s largest immigration detention infrastructures. As of 2020, the country counted on nearly 60 long- and short-term detention centres, which are concentrated in the south (see “3. Detention Infrastructure” below). Between 2014 and 2019, the country detained on average more than 150,000 people annually. Observers contend that since 2010, the country has shifted from being a transit country to an intercepting state.[3] 

In contrast to its wealthier neighbours to the north—Canada and the United States—Mexico does not use criminal prisons for the purposes of immigration-related detention, relying instead on a large network of specially designated detention facilities called estaciones migratorias and estancias provisionales. The 2011 Migration Law, although regarded as an important step towards improving the protection of migrants, emphasises the use of administrative detention for processing undocumented migrants and provides for indefinite detention in certain cases. Importantly, the legislation includes provisions concerning discrimination[4]; access to education and health services[5]; and the right to legal representation as well as interpreters and translators during immigration processes.[6]

Various organisations, including non-governmental groups and Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), have repeatedly reported violations in detention centres, including extremely poor conditions, overcrowding, and inadequate health care, among other problems.[7] In January 2020 the Lopez Obrador administration suspended the access of civil society groups to immigration detention centres for an indefinite period of time (see subsection “2.13 Domestic monitoring” below).[8] Relatedly, Lopez Obrador also proposed dissolving the country’s transparency agency, the Consejo Consultativo del Instituto Nacional de Transparencia, Acceso a la Información y Protección de Datos Personales, a proposal that the agency said put it “in danger” even though it has “constitutionally guaranteed autonomy from political power.”[9]

Observers have long expressed concerns about the treatment of child migrants in Mexico. Although Mexican officials often tout apparently progressive projects like a 2015 “alternative to detention” pilot project for children,[10] the country has detained record numbers of children in the last five years, including 53,507 in 2019.[11] According to the 2020 UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, during the period 2008-2019, “the Mexican Government carried out more than 232,000 detentions of children for migration-related purposes with the share of unaccompanied children varying between 47 percent (2014-2017) and 22 percent (2019).”[12] 

In late 2020, Mexico adopted several reforms to its 2011 Migration Law, which included a prohibition on placing all children in detention and shifting custody of migrant children from the migration authority—the National Migration Institute—to a family development agency.[13] Although the move was widely applauded, including by the UN, many advocates in Mexico remained ambivalent about its practical impact, arguing that officials would continue to find ways to lock up children.

The impact of the United States on Mexico’s migration policies cannot be overstated. Most recently, the Trump administration’s hardline on migration helped spur the Mexican government to ramp up its detention efforts: 182,940 migrants were detained from January to December 2019,[14] which was accompanied by sharp increases in deportations ( with a deportation rate of 99.8 percent that year).[15] A bilateral agreement was signed between Mexico and the United States in June 2019 whereby Mexico vowed to reduce migration flows in exchange for the United States not imposing tariffs on Mexican products.[16] From May to November 2019, the number of migrants detained by the United States border patrol fell by 70 percent.[17] 

Since 2018, impoverished and threatened people in Central America have developed new strategies to respond to forced displacement, including banding together in large “migrant caravans” headed to the United States.[18] Between October 2018 and April 2019, there were a total of six “caravans,” the first of which departed from Honduras with more than 7,000 people.[19] The most recent “caravan” departed in early January 2021, but it quickly faced fierce resistance at the Guatemalan border, where security forces violently repelled the migrants using tear gas, riots shields, and truncheons.[20] For its part, Mexico sought to seal off its border with Guatemala in preparation for the caravan, despite repeated claims by Mexican authorities that the rights of migrants would be respected when passing through Mexican territory.[21] Mexican NGO s have reported that the response of the Mexican security forces during previous caravans involved serious human rights violations.[22]

 

2. LAWS, POLICIES, PRACTICES

2.1 Key norms. Mexico’s legal norms relating to immigration detention and expulsion are contained in several pieces of legislation: the Mexican Constitution; the 2011 Migration Law (ML) (Ley de Migración) last amended in January 2021; and the 2012 Regulations of the Migration Law (RML) (Reglamento de la Ley de Migración), last amended in May 2014. On 29 November 2020, Mexico’s Congress approved several reforms to the 2011 Migration Law through a Decree, including the prohibition to detain children as a result of their migration status, which entered into force in January 2021.[23] 

The Mexican Constitution contains rights relevant to immigration-related detention. Article 1 provides that all individuals in Mexico are entitled to the rights provided therein; Article 11 provides the right to claim asylum and allows any person to enter, exit, and travel through the country without a passport, security card, or similar document and Article 33 provides that the Federal Executive “shall have the exclusive power to compel any foreigner whose remaining he may deem inexpedient to abandon the national territory immediately and without the necessity of previous legal action.”

2.2 COVID-19 response. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, Mexico had some 4,000 people in immigration detention, the vast majority of whom were from Honduras and El Salvador.[24] On 17 March 2020, Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos) (CNDH) issued a press release requesting that urgent actions be taken to avoid overcrowding in detention centres and to prevent the spread of the virus.[25] The country’s immigration authority, the National Migration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migración) ( INM), reportedly applied some measures, including provision of hygiene supplies and installation of air filters.[26] 

On 2 April 2020, a group of civil society actors issued an open letter demanding the urgent release of all immigration detainees in the country, citing the threat of COVID-19, deaths in detention centres, and the “negligent” behaviour of the INM and security forces.[27] Amnesty International also urged Mexican authorities to release immigration detainees, but warned that given the fact that migrants and refugees are prime targets for exploitation and violence in Mexico, authorities must ensure that those released have access to key services, as well as care and safety.[28] 

On 17 April, following a legal action supported by more than 40 civil society organisations, a court ordered the immediate release of vulnerable detainees held in immigration detention centres and that they be provided with a temporary status which would allow them to access health care. The court also ordered the INM to develop a report detailing the number of persons detained as well as a strategy for migrants and asylum seekers to be able to benefit from economic support.[29] Mexico’s Secretaria de Gobernación (Interior Ministry) subsequently ordered the immediate release of detained migrants to avoid the spread of the virus.[30] The INM then temporarily reduced the population of its facilities, from nearly 4,000 in March to approximately 100 by the end of April 2020.[31] 

The Interior Ministry’s decision to release detainees came almost a week after the UN Human Rights Commissioner (OHCHR) had urged Mexico to also temporarily suspend deportations and to establish mechanisms to protect migrants and ensure they are provided with support.[32] Nevertheless, Mexico continued deporting people to Central America by land and air.[33] 

Responding to the Global Detention Project’s COVID-19 survey, the Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova (CDHFMC) reported that certain groups of people remained in detention, including those who: had on-going court cases; were tagged with some type of immigration alert; were detained while their immigration status was being verified or while their asylum application was being processed; or were third-country nationals deported to Mexico by the United States.[34] Responding to the same survey, the OHCHR country office in Mexico said that authorities had failed to adhere to human rights standards. Following their release, many migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees were abandoned or deported to their countries of origin, which could violate the principle of non-refoulement. The OHCHR Mexico office also indicated that migrants were not being tested for COVID-19 and they were unable to confirm whether any measures had been taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst released migrants.[35]

In May 2020, a report drafted by a consortium of academic and civil society organisations found that more than 60,000 asylum seekers were awaiting the resolution of their cases in Mexico. More than 20,000 of them were waiting in the southern border town of Tapachula. The report explained that with asylum procedures suspended and growing difficulties in undertaking deportations, the length of detention in immigration detention centres would be greatly extended in certain cases. This situation further worsened the situation asylum seekers faced in the country, with many also encountering overcrowding in some detention centres, riots in various facilities, and ongoing reports of abuses by immigration agents, federal police, and agents of the national guard.[36] The report made numerous recommendations regarding the treatment of migrants and asylum seekers in the context of the pandemic including, inter alia, “integrating migrants and refugees within national action plans to combat COVID-19” and “urgently establishing alternatives to detention to avoid overcrowding in detention centres.”[37]

2.3 Grounds for administrative migration-related detention. Grounds for migration-related detention are provided in the 2011 Migration Law and in the Regulations of the Migration Law. (For provisions concerning the detention of asylum seekers, see “2.5 Asylum seekers” below.)

The Migration Law’s extensive use of euphemisms makes it challenging to properly interpret.[38] Article 99 stipulates an overriding ground that may lead to migration- related detention yet it fails to mention any word or concept unambiguously relating to detention, confinement, or deprivation of liberty. The article provides that foreigners are to be “presented” (presentación) at migratory stations while their “immigration situation” is being determined (“Es de orden publicó la presentación de los extranjeros en estaciones migratorias o en lugares habilitados para ello, en tanto se determina su situación migratoria en territorio nacional”). Article 99 refers to deprivation of liberty obliquely, using the term alojamiento, or “accommodation.” The article states that foreigners are to be temporarily accommodated in order to assist the process of regularising their stay in the country or to assist in their return. (In addition, according to a 2015 civil society report, officials frequently refer to detention operations as “rescue operations,” or “operativos de rescate de migrantes.”[39])

According to Article 111 of the Migration Law, the National Migration Institute must resolve the immigration situation of foreigners detained within 15 working days. This may nonetheless be extended to a period not exceeding 60 working days in four of five listed situations, including: I) where no reliable information on a person’s identity or nationality exists or where there are difficulties obtaining relevant documents; II) where the consulate or consular sections of the country of origin of the person require more time for the issuance of travel and identity documents; III) where there is an impediment for the person’s travel through third countries or an obstacle to establishing the travel itinerary to the final destination; and IV) where a person suffers from a recognised medical condition or is physically or mentally disabled, making it impossible for them to travel. The fifth situation, where a person has lodged an administrative or judicial appeal regarding their immigration status, is not covered by the 60 working day limit of detention thus enabling indefinite detention.

The Migration Law also fails to unambiguously stipulate whether it is intended to provide for mandatory detention, though observers have repeatedly affirmed that the law is applied in this way. Article 99 appears to indicate that anyone whose status is unclear or who is subject to deportation must be detained at a detention centre operated by the National Migration Institute (INM). A 2016 UNHCR report states that “Mexican legislation foresees mandatory detention in migratory stations as a measure applicable to every adult person found to be in an irregular migratory situation in the country.”[40] 

Article 144 provides numerous grounds for removal from the country for people who are in immigration detention, including: 1) entering the country without proper documents or through an unauthorised entry point; 2) re-entering the country after being deported and not having received authorisation for readmission; 3) falsely presenting oneself as being a Mexican national; 4) being subject to ongoing criminal proceedings, having been convicted of a serious crime or being considered as a threat to national or public security; 5) providing false documentation; and having failed to comply with an order to leave the national territory issued by the INM.

2.4 Criminalisation. Mexico does not impose criminal sanctions for unauthorised entry or stay in the country. According to one expert, such sanctions were eliminated in 2008.[41] Article 2 of the Migration Law specifically provides that being in an irregular situation does not amount to a crime (“En ningún caso una situación migratoria irregular preconfigurará por si misma la comisión de un delito ni se prejuzgara la comisión de ilícitos por parte de un migrante por el hecho de encontrarse en condición no documentada”).

2.5 Asylum seekers. The 2011 Refugee Law provides specific rights and guarantees for people seeking asylum in Mexico. Article 5 guarantees non-discrimination, the best interests of the child, protection of the family unit, confidentiality, and the non-criminalisation of irregular entry; Article 6 enshrines the principle of non-refoulement. However, asylum seekers in Mexico can be placed in immigration detention according to the Regulations of the Migration Law (RML) and can potentially be detained indefinitely under provisions of the Migration Law (ML).

Under Articles 62 and 63 RML, persons applying for asylum can be transferred to detention centres and remain there during the entire administrative procedure. Article 62 states that the migration authority, within a period not exceeding four hours, must: a) interview the person; b) draw up a report containing the reasons and documentation that is taken into account in authorising the person’s entry into Mexico; c) bring anyone who finds themselves in one of the situations described under Article 63(I) to an immigration detention centre to conduct the relevant procedure; and d) in situations where a person is entering Mexico due to an emergency such as a natural disaster, is in a vulnerable situation, or cannot continue their travel towards to another destination, may authorise the foreigner’s temporary entry for a maximum of 180 days. Article 63(I) refers to “applicants for refugee status, political asylum or anyone who requires the start of a statelessness determination procedure.”

Furthermore, under Article 109(II) ML, all detainees have the right to be informed of their right to request recognition of their refugee status or statelessness. However, this may result in longer—potentially indefinite—detention if an asylum seeker appeals a ruling on his or her case (Article 111(V) ML).

Detention of asylum seekers can be prolonged indefinitely as the measure is based on the duration of a person’s particular administrative procedure. According to the NGO Sin Fronteras: “There are two ways to apply for asylum: applying directly to the Mexican Commission for Assistance to Refugees or filing a request directly with immigration authorities. In the second case, the asylum seekers are detained during the entire procedure. Here, the problem is that detention can be prolonged indefinitely, for as long as it takes to complete the administrative process.”[42] For instance, in the Iztapalapa Immigration Detention Centre in Mexico City there have been cases of asylum seekers being detained for up to six months, two of whom were women with children.[43]

Article 52 ML lists scenarios in which foreigners in an irregular situation may remain in the country. Article 52V ML concerns “humanitarian reasons” including people applying for “political asylum, recognition of refugee status or complementary protection of the Mexican State, until their immigration status is resolved. If the request is positive, they will be granted permanent resident status, in terms of Article 54 of this law.” The same article provides that “the Interior Ministry may also authorise the condition of visitor stay for humanitarian reasons to foreigners who do not find themselves in the situations described above, when there is a humanitarian cause or public interest that necessitates its admission of regularisation in the country, and they will have permission to work in exchange for remuneration.”[44]

Observers have pointed to a number of weaknesses in Mexican asylum procedures. For instance, according to the 2012 study concerning migrant children in southern Mexico published by the Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Nacional de Lanús (CDHUNL) and the Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova (CDHFMC), “the application for asylum and the eventual appeal of a negative decision are presented without possible recourse to basic guarantees such as legal assistance, a legal guardian (in cases of unaccompanied children), very little information, and very limited participation in the process.”[45] Despite fears of abuse or violence in their home countries, several children interviewed by these organisations said they would accept “voluntary” repatriation because they remained in detention during the entire process and faced endless delays in processing their request or appeals.[46] 

2.6 Children. Mexico has for many years been one of the world’s more aggressive detainers of migrant children. According to the 2020 UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, during the period 2008-2019, “the Mexican Government carried out more than 232,000 detentions of children for migration-related purposes with the share of unaccompanied children varying between 47percent (2014-2017) and 22 percent (2019).”[47] In 2019 alone, 53,507 children were detained (13,242 unaccompanied and 40,265 accompanied),[48] representing an increase of more than 80 percent from 2018.[49] The vast majority of child detainees come from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.[50] The country continued detaining children even after the CO V I D-19 pandemic struck, recording 10,972 detentions during the period January-November 2020.[51]

In November 2020, the country adopted reforms to the Migration Law prohibiting the detention of all migrant children, which received widespread praise nationally and internationally.[52] Previously existing non-detention provisions in migration law only covered unaccompanied children.

However, even before the 2020 migration legal reforms, Mexican laws concerning children prohibited the detention of both accompanied and unaccompanied children. Article 111 of the Regulation of the General Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents (Reglamento de la Ley General de los Derechos de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes) provides that “children, regardless of whether they are accompanied or not, should never be detained in migratory stations or in any other immigration detention centres.” The law also establishes that the National Agency for Family Development (DIF) is responsible for identifying children in need of international protection. It created a Child Protection Authority tasked, among other responsibilities, with conducting best interest determination procedures and to protect children’s rights.[53] 

Despite these provisions, both accompanied and unaccompanied children continued to be detained in large numbers. Thus, while the UN refugee agency applauded the 2020 reforms and some NGOs called them “historic,” other observers expressed scepticism about whether they would have any practical impact.

These concerns are longstanding. In 2015, shortly after Mexico’s 2014 adoption of the General Act on the Rights of Children and Adolescents, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) expressed concern regarding its implementation, including in particular with respect to child migrants: “The Committee is concerned about the effective implementation of those provisions and that extensive impunity prevails for violence against children. It is particularly concerned about: a) The prevalence of torture and other cruel or degrading treatment or punishment of children, particularly migrant children, children in street situations and children in police custody and other forms of detention.”[54] The CRC also expressed concern about “migrant children being kept in detention centres for migrants and reports of violence and abuse against children in those centres (and about) reports that many migrant are deported without a preliminary process to determine their best interests, in spite of the legal recognition of the principle in law on migration and the General Act on the Rights of Children and Adolescents.”[55]

One of the challenges in implementing these prohibitions may be the failure to adequately finance social welfare institutions, like DIF, to provide necessary care for children. Additionally, Article 176 of the Regulations of the Migration Law allows the migration authority, the National Migration Institute (INM), to retain responsibility for unaccompanied migrant children in other public or private institutions in exceptional circumstances: where there is no availability in DIF facilities or when the care required cannot be provided in the DIF’s facilities.

Even when children remain with DIF, there are have been accusations that their treatment of children amounts to de facto detention. A 2019 study by Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and the Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matias de Cordova (CDHFMC) reported that in some cases, children are transferred from INM facilities to shelters run by DIF and that “while DIF shelters are an improvement over INM facilities, they are still closed-door facilities where children are not allowed to leave and do not have adequate education and recreational opportunities. Children who apply for asylum in Mexico can be held in these facilities for periods as long as four months or more while their applications are processed by the Mexican Commission for Refugees (Comisión Mexicana de Ayuda a Refugiados) (COMAR), and then for months longer after they are recognised as refugees in the case their applications are approved by COMAR.”[56] 

An early study from 2012 found that “despite the fact that the immigration law … requires the National Migration Institute to immediately transfer (canalizar de manera inmediata) migrant children and adolescents, the immigration authorities systematically fail to comply with this order. The transfer presumes an alternative to detention, but to date, it is only a legal prescription that has not permeated actual practice. Children older than 12 years of age, and as we verified, in many cases even younger ones, are held in detention centres.”[57] The study also claimed widespread abuses of migrant children in custody, including: arbitrary detention and deportation; lack of due process guarantees for detained children; restrictions on access to detained unaccompanied children by researchers because of the claim by authorities that the children’s consular representatives are their legal guardian and thus must give permission for the children to be interviewed; the failure of the 2011 Migration Law to provide clarity on the treatment of children in DIF custody and how DIF shelters should operate; the use of euphemisms in official Mexican discourse on migration policy—such as referring to detention as “assurance” (aseguramiento) and deportations as “sending back” (devolución)—which the study argued “camouflage the true legal nature of state practices … and impede analysis, evaluation, and monitoring of migration policy”; and a lack of reliable data on the situation of undocumented children due to problems in the INM methodology.[58] 

Given this track record, numerous actors expressed scepticism when the Mexican Congress unanimously approved reforms to the ML and RML aimed at ending the detention of children, which entered into force in January 2021. The legislative changes are meant to establish that national immigration authorities (INM) will no longer be responsible for decisions regarding migrant children. Instead, such decisions are to be made by the National System for the Protection of Children, regarded as the best institution for ensuring children’s welfare in accordance with their best interests.[59] In addition, the Commission for the Protection of Migrant Children and Asylum Seekers was created within the framework of the National System for the Protection of Children, which is made up of organisations such as the INM; COMAR; National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH); International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and the Interior Ministry.[60] 

The reforms also include amendments to various existing provisions, including Article 112(I) of the ML, which now stipulates that the custody of all migrant children is to be immediately transferred from the INM to DIF. Following the reform’s entry into force on 11 January 2021, the INM released a statement in which it stated that from then on, none of its facilities would house children.[61] Article 29 of the ML, which lists DIF’s duties, now stipulates that its duties extends to all children and states that the agency must accommodate, provide assistance, and ensure adequate measures are taken.

According to CDHFMC, it is too early to estimate the impact of the reform. Nonetheless, the NGO told the Global Detention Project that the INM is trying to avoid detaining families with children as they are unclear on the implementation of the reform.[62] On 22 January, Conexión Migrante reported that the INM had informed that it would provide shelters (albergues) throughout the country so that migrant children can be provided with care and protection.[63] However, CDHFMC highlighted that the DIF does not have the sufficient infrastructure to accommodate all arriving families and children. According to them, a few unaccompanied children have been transferred to civil society shelters, but it is unclear whether this will be the practice in the future.[64] 

2.7 Other vulnerable groups. Mexican law provides specific protections for other vulnerable groups of non-citizens. Under Article 180(V) of the Regulations of the Migration Law, the detention of victims of trafficking is prohibited and they should be accommodated in shelters or specialis ed institutions where they can be provided with adequate care. Non-citizens in an irregular situation who have been victims of crime are also provided with certain protections under the law, including, inter alia, being provided with information regarding the possibility to claim asylum, consular protection, and assisted return (Article 180(I)(a)-(f) RML). Article 133 of the Migration Law provides the right of victims or witnesses to a serious crime to regularise their migratory status. Yet, there have been cases in which migrants who have alleged being victims of crime have been forced to stay in detention centres during the duration of investigations into their claims.[65]

2.8 Length of detention. A person can only be kept in custody prior to being charged for a maximum of 72 hours (Article 19 Mexican Constitution). Article 111 of the Migration Law provides that the National Migration Institute must resolve the immigration situation of foreigners detained within 15 working days. In effect, this establishes that the initial period of administrative confinement of foreigners cannot exceed 15 working days. This may nonetheless be extended to a period not exceeding 60 working days in four of five listed situations, including: I) where no reliable information on a person’s identity or nationality exists or where there are difficulties obtaining relevant documents; II) where the consulate or consular sections of the country of origin of the person require more time for the issuance of travel and identity documents; III) where there is an impediment for the person’s travel through third countries or an obstacle to establishing the travel itinerary to the final destination; and IV) where a person suffers from a recognised medical condition or is physically or mentally disabled, making it impossible for them to travel.

The fifth situation, where a person has lodged an administrative or judicial appeal regarding their immigration status, is not covered by the 60 working day limit of detention thus enabling indefinite detention. According to the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), in cases where a detainee has made an appeal, the time in detention “can be extended until the case is resolved by judicial power.”[66] 

In July 2019, the UN Committee against Torture noted with “concern that the State party continues to rely on the automatic or mandatory detention of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers. Pursuant to section 111 of the Migration Act, National Migration Institute has a period of 15 working days to decide on the cases of persons staying in so-called migrant holding centres, extendable to 60 days in certain circumstances. However, in the event of an administrative or judicial appeal, including in relation to asylum applications, the law does not stipulate the maximum duration of administrative detention.”[67] 

2.9 Procedural standards. Article 16 of the Mexican Constitution protects individuals from arbitrary detention. In addition, Article 14 of the Constitution provides that no one may be deprived of liberty unless decided by a court through a judicial process.

Article 11 of the Migration Law (ML) provides access to justice and due process rights for migrants, irrespective of their immigration status. According to Article 106 ML, detention centres must never exceed their capacity. Article 109 ML guarantees the rights of detainees to: know where they are being detained; be informed of the reasons for their detention and their right to claim asylum; request voluntary repatriation; receive consular protection from their country of origin if they request it; receive visits from family members and legal representatives; and to have an interpreter or a translator if they do not speak Spanish.

Article 226(I-XXI) of the Regulations of the Migration Law provides that non-citizens detained in immigration detention centres have the right to be provided with their rights and obligations in writing, receive medical and psychological attention as well as legal advice, and be able to communicate via telephone with the person they are requesting.

However, observers have criticised the implementation of these norms. According to a 2015 report compiled by several civil society organisations, most migrants were not informed adequately of the reasons for their detention.[68] Additionally, it was found that detainees were not appropriately informed about their rights and obligations, neither in written or verbal form, and that little or nothing is explained regarding immigration proceedings or any existing alternatives.[69] 

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers said in 2017: “The Committee notes with concern that detention as applied by the National Institute for Migration is an automatic measure and is not properly justified in individual cases based on necessity and reasonableness. It notes that detention without due process guarantees, such as immediate presentation before an independent and impartial judge, or the right to free legal assistance, is considered arbitrary under the Convention and other treaties. It is also concerned at reports that insufficient information is provided to migrants regarding the grounds for their detention or their rights and the available remedies, including the right to seek asylum, complementary protection or leave to remain on humanitarian grounds. It is also concerned at the fact that the exercise of available remedies may result in indefinite detention and at the restrictions on access by lawyers from social organisations to offer assistance and representation.”[70] 

2.10 Non-custodial measures (“alternatives to detention”). Mexico’s immigration legislation does not specifically mention a requirement to assess “alternatives to detention” or non-custodial measures before issuing a detention order.[71] However, there are provisions in the law that appear to function as an “alternative to detention” insofar as they provide a non-custodial option for certain people who have been ordered detained.

According to Article 101 of the Migration Law (ML), “once the detention agreement has been issued, and until no decision has been made regarding the immigration status of the foreigner … the foreigner may be transferred to the custody of the diplomatic representation of which he or she is a national or to a legal entity or institution … whose purpose is linked to the protection of human rights, with the obligation of the foreigner to remain at an address located in the territorial district where the immigration station is located, in order to pursue the administrative immigration procedure.”

Articles 214-221 of the Regulations of the Migration Law (RML) detail the requirements and procedures in such cases. For instance, under Article 216 RML, the person under such custody must present themselves periodically to the relevant authority as determined by the immigration authority. However, as highlighted by Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), although this alternative to detention exists, there is no publicly available information from the National Migration Institute (INM) regarding migrants placed under such arrangements.[72]

Article 112 of the ML, amended in 2020, requires the INM to transfer all children in their custody to the National Agency for Family Development (Sistema Nacional para el Desarollo Integral de la Familia) (DIF). However, as this provision represents a prohibition against child detention and it intends to remove children from immigration custody, it does not properly operate as an ATD. Also important to note, there is no indication that any of the above-mentioned measures serve as the basis for assessing the necessity and/or proportionality of individual detention measures, as ATDs are defined in the European Union.

There have been efforts in recent years to boost Mexico’s use of some forms of ATDs, in particular with respect to unaccompanied children, although it is unclear why ATDs would be applied in cases where there is an existing detention prohibition. The INM and the Mexican Commission for Refugees (COMAR), in conjunction with civil society organisations, developed and implemented an eight month ATD pilot project between August 2015 and April 2016.[73] The project sought to improve the mechanisms of identification, channelling, reception, and care of unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents.[74] The project led to the release of 20 children from a detention centre to alternative open-door programmes, which guarantee freedom of movement, communication with family and access to education and health care.[75] However, while the pilot was widely lauded, during the years the pilot operated, Mexico detained tens of thousands of children each year, and went on to detain a record number of children just a few years later, in 2019.[76] 

In June 2019, the Foreign Ministry (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, or SRE), the DIF, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), developed a model for caring for unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents upon their arrival in migrant centres. The protocol seeks to provide protection and ensure the rights of unaccompanied migrant children while they wait for a ruling on their cases.[77] DIF and UNICEF have also produced a document that sets forth alternatives for caring for asylum-seeking and migrant children that gives priority to the right to live as a family.[78] 

2.11 Detaining authorities and institutions. The Secretaria de Gobernación (Interior Ministry) is responsible for overall implementation of the Migration Law (Article 18 ML). In 1993, the Mexican government created the National Migration Institute (Instituto National de Migración) (INM), which is part of the Interior Ministry. The INM was created in part to “strengthen and expand the activities of regulation, control, surveillance, and monitoring of migration flows.”[79] Article 3 of the Migration Law (ML) authorises the INM to establish detention centres (estaciones migratorias) to temporarily accommodate non-citizens detained because of their irregular status. The INM is empowered to monitor the entry and exit of persons into Mexican territory, deport or assist in the return of foreigners, and detain foreigners in detention centres (Article 20 ML).

Article 81 ML states that in undertaking “actions of migration control” such as reviewing the documentation of persons who intend to enter or leave the country as well as the inspection of the means of transport used for such purposes, the Federal Police will act in coordination with the INM. The Regulations of the Migration Law (RML) clarifies, under Article 70, that in accordance with Article 81 ML, the Federal Police will only act at express request of the INM, without prejudice to the Institute’s ability to independently perform functions of immigration control, verification, and review. Nonetheless, as highlighted by a 2019 report, 32 percent of migrants interviewed during the research were detained by other security forces such as the Federal Police, State Police, Municipal Police, and military and navy personnel, without the INM being present.[80]

In 2011, the Committee on Migrant Workers had already expressed concerns in this regard: “The Committee also remains concerned by the alleged participation in the operations to verify migration status of officials who are not authorised to do so under the Population Act and its accompanying regulations.”

2.12 Regulation of detention conditions and regimes. According to Article 18 of the Mexican Constitution, non-criminal detainees must be separated from convicted criminals and kept in separate facilities.

Article 107 of the Migration Law describes the basic minimum conditions and services that must be provided at detention centres. For instance, medical, psychological, and legal assistance must be provided as well as adequate nutrition. In addition, detainees must be segregated by sex and children must preferably remain with their care-providers, except in situations where it is not in the best interest of the child to do so. The Regulations of the Migration Law also provides certain protections for detainees. For instance, Article 225 of the Regulations stipulates that the National Migration Institute must “respect the human rights of non-nationals” and observe the principle of non-discrimination at all times. Article 226 of the Regulations provides several rights for non-nationals detained in immigration detention centres, including, inter alia: the right (I) to know their migration status and the reason for their detention; (II) to be informed of their rights; (III) to receive medical and psychological assistance as well as legal advice at the start of and during their detention; (IV) to be informed of the immigration process and their right to submit an asylum claim; and (V) for their consular representation be notified of their detention.

2.13 Domestic monitoring. Mexico has both a human rights commission and a large base of civil society organisations that have actively monitored immigration detention for many years, though in recent years the government has blocked NGOs from accessing detention centres.

In April 2005, Mexico ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and designated the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) as the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). This is established in Articles 72-82 of the 2017 General Law to Prevent and Sanction Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment (Ley General para Prevenir, Investigar y Sancionar la Tortura y Otros Tratos o Penas Crueles, Inhumanos o Degradantes). The CNDH issues recommendations to the INM regarding its compliance with international standards and also publishes reports regarding the situation in Mexico’s migratory stations. However, the independence and impartiality of CNDH has repeatedly come under scrutiny from both national and international observers. In 2016, for example, the UN Convention against Torture, after it visit to Mexico, pointed to disparities in reports of alleged violations between civil society and CNDH, and recommended reforms (for more on this visit, see the section below on “International monitoring”).[81] 

Article 226(XV) of the Regulations of the Migration Law (RML) establishes that non-citizens detained in immigration detention centres have the right to be visited by representatives of non-governmental organisations. For many years, numerous NGOs—including Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matias de Córdova A.C., Sin Fronteras, Asi Legal, and Fundar—have visited detention centres, monitored detainee populations, and produced reports regarding conditions in these centres. A consortium of Mexican NGOs established the Citizen Observatory for the Human Rights of Migrants (Observatorio Ciudadano de los Derechos Humanos del Migrante), an initiative aimed at producing proposals that contribute to guaranteeing the respect of the human rights of migrants by the INM and security forces involved in immigration matters. The Observatory is made up of civil society organisations including: Casa del Migrante de Saltillo; Centro Comunitario de Atención al Migrante y al Necesitado; Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova A.C.; Colectivo Ustedes Somos Nosotros; Iniciativa Kino para la Frontera; and Instituto para la Seguridad y Democracia A.C.

However, in January 2020, the National Migration Institute (INM) released a statement suspending NGO access to immigration detention centres for an undetermined period of time. The agency pointed to growing migration challenges and what they claimed was a large increase in requests for access to immigration detention centres as the reasons for this suspension. The INM also claimed that the decision to suspend access had been taken in order not to hinder the operations of facilities or provision of care to migrants.[82] The Interior Ministry (Secretaria de Gobernación), to which the INM reports to directly, distanced itself from the INM statement. Through a Tweet, the Interior Ministry stated that they were “not aware” of the document, which had been prepared by Antonio Molina Diaz, general director of the INM, and that it had been drawn up “without the authorisation of higher authorities.”[83]

2.14 International monitoring. Mexico’s migration-related detention policies and practices have been reviewed by several international human rights monitoring bodies.

As a state party to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, Mexico receives visits from the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT). In December 2016, the SPT visited Mexico and noted that there was a large disparity regarding the conditions and treatment of migrants in different immigration detention centres.[84] In addition, the SPT stated that there was a lack of information provided to detainees regarding the reasons for their detention, deportation procedures, and their right to claim international protection.[85] The SPT also criticised Mexico’s NPM, stating that there was a significant gap in the allegations made by civil society in terms of torture and ill-treatment and those reported by the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH). The SPT recommended that more unannounced visits be conducted and that a separate team within CNDH be set up to exclusively function as NPM.[86]

Several UN treaty bodies have issued immigration-detention specific recommendations to Mexico, notably the Committee against Torture (CAT), Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW). In its concluding observations of 2019, the CAT recommended, inter alia, that Mexico review its legislation to prevent the mandatory detention of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers and ensure minors are not detained because of their status as undocumented migrants.[87] The CRC recommended that Mexico take the necessary measures to end the administrative detention of asylum-seeking children and place unaccompanied children in shelters and accompanied children in appropriate facilities ensuring family unity.[88] The CERD urged Mexico to develop alternatives to the detention of asylum seekers and migrants in an irregular situation.[89] 

In 2017, Mexico was subject to comments by the CMW regarding the “high number of custodial measures applied to migrants in the 58 migrant holding centres around the country. It is concerned at the delegation’s claims that such detention (called securing” or “presentation) does not amount to deprivation of liberty, or that it may be described as a protective measure of a benefit.”[90] The Committee urged Mexico to ensure that individuals’ rights to an interpreter, free legal assistance, and representation be respected and ensure that detention is an exceptional measure of last resort applied for the shortest possible time.[91] 

2.15 Trends and statistics. According to statistics published by the INM, in 2019, 182,940 people were detained in immigration detention centres[92] in Mexico, compared with 131,445 in 2018.[93] In addition, there were 43.4 percent more people detained from January to November 2019 than in the same period in 2018. [94] The INM also reported that 99.8 percent of those detained in 2019 were deported to their countries of origin.[95] Furthermore, of the 53,507 children detained in 2019, there were 13,242 unaccompanied and 40,265 accompanied children.[96] This total number of children detained represents a large increase compared to the two previous years (29,358[97] in 2018 and 18,066[98] in 2017), though child detention numbers have been trending upwards for several years (more than 30,000 in 2015 and more than 40,00 in 2016).[99]

 

3. DETENTION INFRASTRUCTURE

3.1  Summary.  Mexico exclusively employs specially designated administrative detention facilities for confining undocumented non-citizens. According to Article 106 of the Migration Law, prisons are not be used to detain undocumented non-citizens. This situation contrasts with that of the United States and Canada, both of which make extensive use of their prison systems for immigration-related detention. Instead, Article 106 establishes two main types of administrative detention centres: (1) “Provisional” detention centres (“estancias provisionales”), which are meant for short- or medium-term detention of undocumented migrants; and (2) long-term detention facilities, which are euphemistically called “migratory stations” (“estaciones migratorias”). Both types of facilities are operated by the National Migration Institute (INM).

According to a document published by the INM in 2017, Mexico operated at that time 35 migratory stations and 23 provisional detention centres.[100] The Committee on Migrant Workers, in their concluding observations of 2017, also cited a total number of 58 migrant holding centres in Mexico.[101] However, a more recent 2019 report by the country’s National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) lists 30 operating migratory stations and 23 operating provisional detention centres.[102] 

Provisional detention centres are defined under Article 3 Regulations of the Migration Law (ML) as “facilities, which the INM establishes to provisionally accommodate foreigners whose immigration status is unclear until they are transferred to a migratory station or their immigration status is resolved.” Migratory stations are defined under Article 3 ML as a “facility established by the INM to temporarily accommodate foreigners whose immigration status is unclear, until their immigration status is resolved.”

In addition, according to Article 5 of the Rules for the Operation of Migration Stations and Provisional Stays of the National Migration Institute 2012 (“Normas para el Funcionamiento de las Estaciones Migratorias y Estancias Provisionales del Instituto Nacional de Migración”), there are two types of provisional detention centres: “I) Provisional detention centres A, which permit a maximum detention period of forty-eight hours and; II) Provisional detention centres B, which permit a maximum detention period of seven days.”

The largest detention centre is in Tapachula—the Estación Migratoria Siglo XXI, which can confine up to 960 people. Other major facilities include the detention centres in Acayucan, which has a capacity of 836, Mexico City (Iztapalapa) with a capacity of 430, Tijuana (100), and Comitán (120).[103] 

In addition, transit facilities “located within spaces of international transit” are also used in Mexico (For more information on these facilities, see “3.3bi Transit facilities”). Mexico also operates a network of public and privately-operated shelters for unaccompanied children that are mainly situated in the north of the country, with a few also in the south.[104] The DIF is charged with overseeing operations at these facilities and has custody of the children accommodated within them. A 2017 report indicated that “DIF shelters often resemble detention and provide only limited education and psychological services.”[105] (For more information on these facilities, see “3.3d National Agency for Family Development (DIF) facilities”).

3.2  List of immigration detention facilities.

Migratory Stations (“estaciones migratorias”) [106]: Aguascalientes; Mexicali; Tijuana; Los Cabos; Palenque; Tapachula; Tuxtla Gutiérrez; Chihuahua; Ciudad Juárez; Janos; Iztapalapa; Pachuca; Oaxaca; Puebla; Cancún; Chetumal; San Luis Potosí; Mazatlán; Hermosillo; El Ceibo; Tenosique; Villahermosa; Nuevo Laredo; Tampico; Tlaxcala; Acayucan; Veracruz; Mérida; Zacatecas.  

Provisional Detention Centres (“estancias provisionales”) -Type A[107]: Campeche; Ciudad del Carmen; Colima; Piedras Negras; Ciudad Cuauhtémoc; Huixtla; Huehuetan; Playas de Catazaja; San Gregorio Chamic; Zihuatanejo; Agua Prieta; Miguel Alemán.

Provisional Detention ntres (“estancias provisionales”) -Type B[108]: Escárcega; Comitán; Echegaray; San Cristóbal de las Casas; Torreón; Acapulco; Guadalajara; Monterrey; La Ventosa; Salina Cruz; San Pedro Tapanatepec; Matamoros

3.3 Conditions in detention facilities.

3.3a Overview. A July 2017 study detailing conditions of detention in immigration detention centres in Mexico, published by the Consejo Ciudadano del Instituto Nacional de Migración (CCINM), noted several issues concerning conditions in detention centres.[109] The CCINM report revealed, inter alia, instances of violence and excessive force used by personnel of the National Migration Institute and security forces in apprehending migrants and transferring them to detention centres[110]; very few cases of real and effective legal assistance for migrants subjected to the administrative immigration procedure[111]; a lack of access to information; and a lack of access to due process rights[112]. As regards material conditions, the CCINM report revealed that in most centres, overcrowding was an issue; there was a lack of mattresses to sleep on; and sanitary facilities had problems such as broken toilets and lack of water for both flushing and drinking, which led to poor hygiene and the proliferation of insects.[113]

Other observers, including international human rights bodies, have also criticised the operations and conditions at Mexican detention facilities.[114] The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers (CMW) indicated that it was “concerned that the conditions of detention of the migrant population in the State party. It notes with great concern that in some cases conditions amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”[115] The committee also reiterated its previous recommendation[116] and urged Mexico to “guarantee adequate, decent conditions in migrant detention centres; the centres should not resemble a prison facility either in appearance or purpose.”[117]

3.3b Short-term facilities. Transit facilities and provisional detention centres appear to be used for short-term detention in Mexico.

            i. Transit facilities. According to Article 89 of the Migration Law (ML), transit facilities are “spaces destined for the international transit of people by land, sea and air,” and must have “adequate spaces for their temporary stay” while their cases are under investigation. Further, Article 38 of the Regulations of the Migration Law (RML) lists general characteristics that “[National Migration Institute] INM facilities located within spaces of international transit must have.” Article 38(III) RML requires that they are equipped with, inter alia, areas for immigration control, temporary stay, and sanitary services.

According to some sources, the INM operates offices in international airports, where migrants in an irregular situation are interviewed. These offices are not officially considered detention centres because interrogations tend to be completed quickly. In the past, observers have told that Global Detention Project that there is very little public information about how these facilities operate.[118] It is also unclear if these INM interview offices correspond with the transit facilities described by the Migration Law.

Media reports have highlighted cases of individuals being detained in these INM border offices. In 2015, a series of cases—including that of a French national who was detained by INM officials at Mexico City International Airport for 20 hours (during which time she was not permitted to contact anyone) and who was ultimately prohibited from entering the country—prompted a response by the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH).[119] The CNDH issued a recommendation in November 2015 to the INM to ensure that detainees be provided with water, food, and interpreters or translators, and that they be allowed to make phone calls and be given access to a phone directory with the numbers for foreign consulates in Mexico.[120] More recently in November 2019, it was reported that a Venezuelan national had been detained for five days by the INM at Mexico City International Airport and was left without food for 24 hours before being transferred to an immigration detention centre.[121] The Legal Clinic for Refugees Alaide Foppa of the Ibero-American University of Mexico City (Clínica Jurídica para Refugiados Alaide Foppa de la Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México) has also reported that in 2019, asylum seekers originating from Venezuela were being detained at Mexico City Airport without the possibility of contacting lawyers or family members and that they were being forced to sign documents retracting their asylum requests, thus allowing authorities to return them to their country of origin.[122]

            ii. Provisional detention centres. Numerous reports have highlighted issues of concern within Mexico’s provisional detention centres. In April 2019, it was reported that 62 people were detained at the Huixtla detention centre, exceeding the centre’s capacity of 50. The National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) observed that the water for bathing was yellow and caused hives amongst those who used it. People who required medical attention were brought to the hospital in Tapachula, but they had to pay for the consultation as well as the medication for their treatment.[123] Moreover, the food provided to detainees is poorly cooked or spoiled and is limited to beans, rice, and eggs. Given the shortage of drinking water, many detainees have consumed tap water—which is not suitable for human consumption—causing them to suffer gastrointestinal disorders. The cells are small, with extreme temperatures and unhygienic conditions.[124]

In 2019, the San Cristóbal de las Casas detention centre was also reported to be overcrowded, with people sleeping in the facility’s four cells as well as other areas such as the dining room. The cells were found to be dirty, infested with cockroaches, and have unsanitary drainage. Visits from doctors were found to be few, and many detainees were reported to be suffering from hives on their skin, lice, and flu.[125]

Reports have also indicated that food provision for children in Comitán immigration detention centre is inadequate, and that detainees frequently get sick. Although bathrooms are clean, they do not have doors and the water in the showers is dirty, causing many women to suffer infections. Men and women are held in the same small cells, where there is not sufficient lighting and sleeping mats are ripped.[126]

3.3c Long term facilities. Like provisional detention centres, conditions concerns have also been noted in Mexico’s long-term detention facilities, and numerous detainee protest events have been reported in recent years.

Reports have indicated overcrowding[127] at the Tapachula detention centre with people “sleeping on the dirty floor in any possible space, because there is no space left in the dining room.”[128] Food provision has been described as insufficient, of poor quality, and inadequate for children. According to report published by a group of Mexican NGOs in 2019, the bathrooms were found to be in a poor state—dirty and without running water. Only one doctor was found to be available for the entire detention centre; there was no provision of mental health services; no medication was available for pregnant women; and no specialised care was available for children.[129]

In 2020, several detainee protest events were reported.

On 23 March 2020, at least 50 migrants detained in the Siglo XXI detention centre protested against the conditions of detention and the lack of protective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The National Guard and the Federal Police made use of water cannons, tear gas, and force to suppress the protest. A coalition of several NGOs denounced the alleged violence used by the police.[130]

On 1 April 2020, one detainee died and 14 others were hospitalised following a fire sparked during a protest at the Tenosique detention centre in the state of Tabasco. The detainees had been requesting their return to their countries of origin out of for fear of contracting COVID-19 while in detention. Twenty-seven detainees escaped from the centre and following the protest, the facility was emptied, with migrants transferred to other locations.[131] 

3.3d National Agency for Family Development (DIF) facilities. There are three main types of DIF facilities: (a) public processing centres (“módulos de atención”); (b) public shelters (“albergues”); and (c) private shelters.[132] As of 2015, the DIF network encompassed 14 processing centres and 36 shelters.[133] 

While shelters are facilities that serve as alternatives to INM detention centres, processing centres are designated spaces within detention centres.[134] The processing centres are meant to be used only to undertake administrative procedures and not to house children for any length of time. The main difference between these types of facilities is the scope of services provided to children in terms of legal counsel, recreational activities, and medical and psychological care.[135]

Although not officially recognised as sites of deprivation of liberty (detention centres), some observers have characterised shelters as operating like detention centres[136] or resembling detention.[137] In their 2012 study on migrant children in southern Mexico, CDHUNL and CDHFMC reported: “In the few cases of children and adolescents that are transferred to the DIF because they are younger than 12 years of age, they are also deprived of their liberty in such shelters, even though these are not run by the INM.”[138] 

However, in a 2011 assessment of the DIF system, Appleseed found that the facilities it visited generally lacked the ability to keep children from leaving, and that private shelters refuse to prevent children from leaving because they do not consider themselves to have the legal authority to hold them: “The problem of minors walking out of shelter facilities without authorisation is not limited to non-governmental shelters. Although governmental shelters have legal authority to hold children until they are retrieved by family members or returned to their home localities, DIF has limited ability to guard its facilities against children escaping, and many are allowed to leave ‘voluntarily’ or with ‘friends’.”[139]

 


[1] The Global Detention Project would like to thank Salva Lacruz, a consultant with the Chiapas-based non-profit El Rebozo, for his comments and suggestions on an early draft of this report.

[2] K. Semple, “Overflowing Toilets, Bedbugs and High Heat: Inside Mexico’s Migrant Detention Centres,” The New York Times, 3 August 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/08/03/world/americas/mexico-migration-conditions.html

[3] A. Aguilar et. al. “La Detención Migratoria: Un Análisis desde un Modelo Penitenciario y el Gasto Publico,Así Legal, Sin Fronteras, Fundar, January 2019, https://sinfronteras.org.mx/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/informe-estaciones-migratorias-2019-final.pdf

[4] Migration Law, Article 67 & 109(XI).

[5] Migration Law, Article 8.

[6] Migration Law, Article 14.

[7] A. Aguilar et. al. “La Detención Migratoria: Un Análisis desde un Modelo Penitenciario y el Gasto Publico,Así Legal, Sin Fronteras, Fundar, January 2019, https://sinfronteras.org.mx/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/informe-estaciones-migratorias-2019-final.pdf; Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, “Informe Especial: Situación de las Estaciones Migratorias en México, Hacia un Nuevo Modelo Alternativo a la Detención,” 2019, https://www.cndh.org.mx/sites/default/files/documentos/2019-11/Informe-Estaciones-Migratorias-2019.pdf

[8] E. Reina, “México suspende el acceso de las ONG a las estaciones migratorias,El País, 29 January 2020, https://elpais.com/internacional/2020/01/29/mexico/1580253633_895010.html

[9] C. A. Garcia, “Propuesta Presidencial Amenaza la Transparencia: Inai,” La Jornada, 11 January 2021, https://www.jornada.com.mx/notas/2021/01/11/politica/propuesta-presidencial-amenaza-la-transparencia-inai/

[10] For more about this pilot ATD project, see: UNHCR, “Beyond Detention: A Global Strategy to Support Governments to End the Detention of Asylum-Seekers and Refugees – 2014-2019,” August 2016, https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/57b850dba.pdf

[11] Unidad de Política Migratoria, Registro e Identidad de Personas, “Boletines Estadísticos: III Extranjeros Presentados y Devueltos, 2019, Cuadro 3.1.4 - Eventos de menores presentados ante la autoridad migratoria, según continente, país de nacionalidad, grupos de edad, condición de viaje y entidad federativa, enero-diciembre de 2019," http://www.politicamigratoria.gob.mx/es/PoliticaMigratoria/CuadrosBOLETIN?Anual=2019&Secc=3

[12] M. Nowak, “Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty,” 11 November 2019, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/global-study-on-children-deprived-of-liberty-states-must-end-immigration-detention-of-children-and-families

[13] NBC News, “Mexico W ill S top H olding M igrant C hildren in D etention, W ins P raise from UN,” 12 November 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/mexico-will-stop-holding-migrant-children-detention-wins-praise-u-n1247557

[14] Unidad de Política Migratoria, Registro e Identidad de Personas, “Boletines Estadísticos: III Extranjeros Presentados y Devueltos, 2019, Cuadro 3.1 – Eventos de Extranjeros Presentados ante la Autoridad Migratoria, según entidad Federativa,” 6 July 2020, http://www.politicamigratoria.gob.mx/es/PoliticaMigratoria/CuadrosBOLETIN?Anual=2019&Secc=3

[15] Instituto Nacional de Migración, “Tema Migratorio 301219: Información INM Nacional,” 29 December 2019, www.inm.gob.mx/gobmx/word/index.php/tema-migratorio-301219/

[16] D.M Shear, A. Swanson, and A. Ahmed, “Trump Calls Off Plan to Impose Tariffs on Mexico,” The New York Times, 7 June 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/us/politics/trump-tariffs-mexico.html

[17] L. Arista, “El ‘muro mexicano’ disminuye la migración a Estados Unidos,Expansión Política, 23 January 2020, https://politica.expansion.mx/mexico/2020/01/23/el-muro-mexicano-disminuye-la-migracion-a-estados-unidos

[18] Colectivo de Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos en el Sureste Mexicano, et al., “Impactos de la Política Migratoria de México en la Frontera Sur: Hallazgos de la misión de observación de derechos humanos en Tapachula, Chiapas,” November 2019, https://vocesmesoamericanas.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/INFORME-MODH-MIGRACIO%CC%81N_SuresteMe%CC%81xico-WEB.pdf

[19] L. Arista, “Caravanas de migrantes en México, El Economista, 27 April 2019, www.eleconomista.com.mx/politica/Caravanas-de-migrantes-en-Mexico-20190427-0001.html

[20] Global Detention Project, “COVID-19 Global Immigration Detention Platform, Guatemala Update,” 18 January 2021, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/americas/guatemala#covid-19-updates

[21] L. Arista, “Caravanas de migrantes en México, El Economista, 27 April 2019, www.eleconomista.com.mx/politica/Caravanas-de-migrantes-en-Mexico-20190427-0001.html

[22] Colectivo de Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos en el Sureste Mexicano, et al., “Impactos de la Política Migratoria de México en la Frontera Sur: Hallazgos de la misión de observación de derechos humanos en Tapachula, Chiapas,” November 2019, https://vocesmesoamericanas.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/INFORME-MODH-MIGRACIO%CC%81N_SuresteMe%CC%81xico-WEB.pdf

[23] International Detention Coalition, “Law Reform Opens the Door to Effective Implementation of the National Protocol for the Protection of Migrant Children,” 13 October 2020, https://bit.ly/2NhQ2MW

[24] Human Rights Watch, “Mexico: Free Detained Migrants Amid Pandemic,” 14 April 2020, https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/04/14/mexico-free-detained-migrants-amid-pandemic

[25] CNDH, “Exige CNDH Acciones Urgentes para Evitar Hacinamiento y Contagio Masivo de Coronavirus en Personas Migrantes Alojadas en Estaciones del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM),” 17 March 2020, https://www.cndh.org.mx/sites/default/files/documentos/2020-03/COM_2020_081.pdf

[26] La Razón, “INM Acepta Medidas Emitidas por la CNDH para Evitar Contagios,” 18 March 2020, https://www.razon.com.mx/mexico/acepta-inm-medidas-cautelares-emitidas-por-la-cndh/; El Heraldo de Chiapas, “INM Fortalece Medidas en Estaciones Migratorias por Coronavirus,” 14 March 2020, https://bit.ly/3d5yluB

[27] Asylum Access, “Ante los Riesgos por el Covid-19: Exigimos la Libertad Inmediata de Todas las Personas Migrantes, Refugiadas y Solicitantes de Asilo en Detención Migratoria,” 2 April 2020, https://bit.ly/3tTuU0j

[28] Amnesty International, “Americas: Governments Must Halt Dangerous Discriminatory Detention of Migrants and Asylum Seekers,” 2 April 2020, https://bit.ly/3jId0J2

[29] P. Torres, “Resolucion Historica en pro de las Personas Migrantes,” Sin Fronteras, 18 April 2020, https://sinfronteras.org.mx/index.php/2020/04/18/resolucion-historica-en-pro-de-las-personas-migrantes/

[30] Secretaria de Gobernacion, “Actua INM con Responsabilidad Ante la Contingencia por Covid-19,” 26 April 2020, https://bit.ly/3tOKASh

[31] Secretaria de Gobernacion, “Actua INM con Responsabilidad Ante la Contingencia por Covid-19,” 26 April 2020, https://bit.ly/2OlmTRh

[32] R. Gonzalez, “Pide ONU-DH a México Suspender Deportaciones de Migrantes,El Sol de Tlaxcala, 23 April 2020, https://bit.ly/2LI6rJW

[33] Sudimer et al., “Propuesta de Rutas Alternativas a la Detención Para la Población Migrante y Solicitante de Asilo en México Durante la Pandemia del COVID-19,” May 2020, https://bit.ly/376PTme

[34] Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matias de Cordova AC (Ciria Villatoro Gonzalez), Global Detention Project COVID-19 Survey, 4 June 2020.

[35] OHCHR Mexico Country Office (Andrea Nomdedeu), Global Detention Project COVID-19 survey, 2 June 2020.

[36] Sudimer et al., “Propuesta de Rutas Alternativas a la Detención Para la Población Migrante y Solicitante de Asilo en México Durante la Pandemia del COVID-19,” May 2020, https://bit.ly/376PTme

[37] Sudimer et al., “Propuesta de Rutas Alternativas a la Detención Para la Población Migrante y Solicitante de Asilo en México Durante la Pandemia del COVID-19,” May 2020, https://bit.ly/376PTme

[38] For a commentary on this language, see: Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Nacional de Lanús (CDHUNL) and Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova (CDHFMC), “Los Derechos Humanos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes Migrantes en la Frontera México-Guatemala,” 20 September 2012, www.acnur.org/fileadmin/Documentos/Publicaciones/2013/9361.pdf

[39] C.J. Barja, “Derechos Cautivos: La situación de las personas migrantes y sujetas a protección internacional en los centros de detención migratoria: siete experiencias de monitoreo desde la sociedad civil,” 15 April 2015, https://sinfronteras.org.mx/docs/inf/inf-derechos-cautivos.pdf

[40] UNHCR, “Beyond D etention: A Global S trategy to Support Governments to End the Detention of Asylum-Seekers and Refugees – 2014-2019,” August 2016, https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/57b850dba.pdf

[41] Elba Coria Marquez (Immigration lawyer), Interview with Karen Elena Marín Hernández (Global Detention Project), 21 November 2012.

[42] Elba Coria Marquez (Immigration lawyer), Interview with Karen Elena Marín Hernández (Global Detention Project), 21 November 2012.

[43] A. Aguilar et. al. “La Detención Migratoria: Un Análisis desde un Modelo Penitenciario y el Gasto Publico,Así Legal, Sin Fronteras, Fundar, January 2019, https://bit.ly/3rN9q3b

[44] C.E Marquez et al, “Que esperamos del futuro? Detención migratoria y alternativas a la detención en las Américas,International Detention Coalition, 2017, https://www.refworld.org/docid/590c4c9b4.html

[45] Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Nacional de Lanús (CDHUNL) and Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova (CDHFMC), “Los Derechos Humanos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes Migrantes en la Frontera México-Guatemala,” 20 September 2012, www.acnur.org/fileadmin/Documentos/Publicaciones/2013/9361.pdf

[46] Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Nacional de Lanús (CDHUNL) and Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova (CDHFMC), “Los Derechos Humanos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes Migrantes en la Frontera México-Guatemala,” 20 September 2012, www.acnur.org/fileadmin/Documentos/Publicaciones/2013/9361.pdf

[47] M. Nowak, “Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty,” 11 November 2019, https://bit.ly/3b4rRtE

[48] Unidad de Política Migratoria, Registro e Identidad de Personas, “Boletines Estadísticos: III Extranjeros Presentados y Devueltos, 2019, Cuadro 3.1 – Eventos de Extranjeros Presentados ante la Autoridad Migratoria, según entidad Federativa,” 6 July 2020, http://www.politicamigratoria.gob.mx/es/PoliticaMigratoria/CuadrosBOLETIN?Anual=2019&Secc=3

[49] International Detention Coalition, “Law Reform Opens the Door to Effective Implementation of the National Protocol for the Protection of Migrant Children,” 13 October 2020, https://bit.ly/3b1219x

[50] Secretaría de la Gobernación, Unidad de Política Migratoria, Registro e Identidad de Personas, “Niñas, niños y adolescentes migrantes en situación migratoria irregular, desde y en tránsito por México,” August 2019, http://portales.segob.gob.mx/work/models/PoliticaMigratoria/CEM/Estadistica/NNA/NNA_Sintesis_2019.pdf

[51] Unidad de Política Migratoria, Registro e Identidad de Personas, “Boletines Estadísticos: III. Extranjeros Presentados y Devueltos, 2020, Cuadro 3.1.4 Eventos de Menores Presentados ante la Autoridad Migratoria, según Continente, País de Nacionalidad, Grupos de Edad, Condición de Viaje y Entidad Federativa, Enero-Noviembre de 2020,” December 2020, https://portales.segob.gob.mx/es/PoliticaMigratoria/CuadrosBOLETIN?Anual=2020&Secc=3

[52] UNHCR, “UNHCR Welcomes Mexico’s Reforms to Protect Rights of Child Refugees and Asylum-Seekers,” 15 January 2021, https://bit.ly/2ZbdduY; International Detention Coalition, “Law Reform Opens the Door to Effective Implementation of the National Protocol for the Protection of Migrant Children,” 13 October 2020, https://bit.ly/2Nfg9nz

[53] UNHCR, “Beyond Detention: A Global Strategy to Support Governments to End the Detention of Asylum-Seekers and Refugees – 2014-2019,” August 2016, https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/57b850dba.pdf

[54] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Concluding Observations on the Combined Fourth and Fifth Periodic Reports of Mexico, CRC/C/MEX/CO/4-5,” 3 July 2015, https://www.refworld.org/docid/566fc4d14.html

[55] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Concluding Observations on the Combined Fourth and Fifth Periodic Reports of Mexico, CRC/C/MEX/CO/4-5,” 3 July 2015, https://www.refworld.org/docid/566fc4d14.html

[56] KIND and CDHFMC, “The Invisible Wall: Obstacles to Protection for Unaccompanied Migrant Children along Mexico’s Southern Border,” July 2019, https://supportkind.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Tapachula-report-FINAL-7-26-19-002.pdf

[57] Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Nacional de Lanús (CDHUNL) and Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova (CDHFMC), “Los Derechos Humanos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes Migrantes en la Frontera México-Guatemala,” 20 September 2012, www.acnur.org/fileadmin/Documentos/Publicaciones/2013/9361.pdf

[58] Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Nacional de Lanús (CDHUNL) and Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova (CDHFMC), “Los Derechos Humanos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes Migrantes en la Frontera México-Guatemala,” 20 September 2012, www.acnur.org/fileadmin/Documentos/Publicaciones/2013/9361.pdf

[59] International Detention Coalition, “Mexican Congress Affirms the Rights of the Child,” 8 October 2020, https://idcoalition.org/news/mexican-congress-affirms-the-rights-of-the-child/

[60] International Detention Coalition, “Law Reform Opens the Door to Effective Implementation of the National Protocol for the Protection of Migrant Children,” 13 October 2020, https://bit.ly/3aVJqfj

[61] Instituto Nacional de Migración, “Encabeza INM Tareas de Coordinación con Instancias Federales y Locales Para Garantizar Protección de Niñez Migrante, 22 January 2021, https://bit.ly/3qrJoCx

[62] Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova (Yuriria Salvador), Email to Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project), 25 January 2021.

[63] Conexión Migrante, “INM Adaptará Espacios en Albergues para los Niños Migrantes,” 22 January 2021, https://conexionmigrante.com/2021-/01-/22/inm-adaptara-espacios-en-albergues-para-los-ninos-migrantes/

[64] Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova (Yuriria Salvador), Email to Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project), 25 January 2021.

[65] Elba Coria Marquez (Immigration lawyer), Interview with Karen Elena Marín Hernández (Global Detention Project), 21 November 2012.

[66] Fernando Batista (National Commission for Human Rights), Email correspondence with Karen Marín (Global Detention Project), 20 December 2012.

[67] UN Committee against Torture, “Concluding Observations on the Seventh Periodic Report of Mexico, CAT/C/MEX/CO/7,” 24 July 2019, https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/2019639/G1922498.pdf

[68] C. J. Barja, “Derechos Cautivos: La situación de las personas migrantes y sujetas a protección internacional en los centros de detención migratoria: siete experiencias de monitoreo desde la sociedad civil,” 15 April 2015,  https://sinfronteras.org.mx/docs/inf/inf-derechos-cautivos.pdf

[69]C. J. Barja, “Derechos Cautivos: La situación de las personas migrantes y sujetas a protección internacional en los centros de detención migratoria: siete experiencias de monitoreo desde la sociedad civil,” 15 April 2015, https://sinfronteras.org.mx/docs/inf/inf-derechos-cautivos.pdf

[70] UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers, “Concluding Observations on the Third Periodic Report of Mexico, CMW/C/MEX/CO/3,” 27 September 2017, https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/1416035/1930_1508406174_g1728468.pdf

[71] Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, et al., “Niñas, niños y adolescentes víctimas del crimen organizado en México,” CNDH, November 2019, https://bit.ly/3qrJslL

[72] Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, “Informe Especial: Situación de las Estaciones Migratorias en México, Hacia un Nuevo Modelo Alternativo a la Detención,” 2019, https://www.cndh.org.mx/sites/default/files/documentos/2019-11/Informe-Estaciones-Migratorias-2019.pdf

[73] For further information on the project, see: https://www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/115687/Descripcion_del_Programa_Piloto.pdf

[74] Instituto Nacional de Migración, “Descripción del Programa Piloto de cuidado y acogida alternativa de NNA migrantes no acompañados en México,” 30 June 2016, https://www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/115687/Descripcion_del_Programa_Piloto.pdf

[75] C. E Marquez et al, “Que esperamos del futuro? Detención migratoria y alternativas a la detención en las Américas,” International Detention Coalition, 2017, https://www.refworld.org/docid/590c4c9b4.html

[76] More than 38,000 detained children in 2015; 40,000 in 2016; and 53,000 in 2019. See Global Detention Project, Immigration Detention in Mexico: Statistics & Data, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/americas/mexico#statistics-data

[77] Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, “Mexico and UN Agencies Agree on Care for Unaccompanied Migrant Children,” 21 June 2019, https://bit.ly/2LImXcT

[78] V. Negro et al, “Modelo de ciudadanos alternativos para niñas, niños, y adolescentes migrantes, solicitantes de asilo y refugiados en México: guía para su implementación,” 2019, https://www.unicef.org/mexico/media/1866/file/Cuidados%20alternativos%20ninez%20migrante.pdf

[79] Auditoría Superior de la Federación, “Instituto Nacional de Migración,” Informe de resultados sobre la revisión de la cuenta de la hacienda Pública Federal de 2000, Tomo II, http://www.asf.gob.mx/Trans/Informes/IR2000i/ir2000/Tomos/Tomo2/INM.htm#_Toc17886387

[80] A. Aguilar et. Al, “La Detención Migratoria: Un Análisis desde un Modelo Penitenciario y el Gasto Publico,Así Legal, Sin Fronteras, Fundar, January 2019, https://sinfronteras.org.mx/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/informe-estaciones-migratorias-2019-final.pdf

[81] Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, “Visita a México del 12 al 21 de Diciembre de 2016 observaciones y recomendaciones dirigidas al Estado parte, CAT/OP/MEX/2,” https://undocs.org/es/CAT/OP/MEX/2

[82] E. Reina, “México suspende el acceso de las ONG a las estaciones migratorias,El País, 29 January 2020, https://elpais.com/internacional/2020/01/29/mexico/1580253633_895010.html

[83] A. Pradilla, “El Caos Entre INM y Segob Por el Oficio Que Impide a ONG Visitar Centros de Detencion de Migrantes,Animal Politico, 29 January 2019, https://bit.ly/3tT7PdW

[84] UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, “Visita a México del 12 al 21 de Diciembre de 2016 observaciones y recomendaciones dirigidas al Estado parte, CAT/OP/MEX/2,” https://undocs.org/es/CAT/OP/MEX/2

[85] UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, “Visita a México del 12 al 21 de Diciembre de 2016 observaciones y recomendaciones dirigidas al Estado parte, CAT/OP/MEX/2,” https://undocs.org/es/CAT/OP/MEX/2

[86] UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, “Visita a México del 12 al 21 de Diciembre de 2016 observaciones y recomendaciones dirigidas al Estado parte, CAT/OP/MEX/2,” https://undocs.org/es/CAT/OP/MEX/2

[87] UN Committee against Torture, “Concluding Observations on the Seventh Periodic Report of Mexico, CAT/C/MEX/CO/7,” 24 July 2019, https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/2019639/G1922498.pdf

[88] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Concluding Observations on the Combined Fourth and Fifth Periodic Reports of Mexico, CRC/C/MEX/CO/4-5,” 3 July 2015, https://www.refworld.org/docid/566fc4d14.html

[89] UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, “Concluding Observations on the Combined Eighteenth to Twenty-First Periodic Reports of Mexico, CERD/C/MEX/CO/18-21,” 19 September 2019, https://bit.ly/3aitxR7

[90] UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers, “Concluding Observations on the Third Periodic Report of Mexico, CMW/C/MEX/CO/3,” 27 September 2017, https://undocs.org/en/CMW/C/MEX/CO/3

[91] UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers, “Concluding Observations on the Third Periodic Report of Mexico, CMW/C/MEX/CO/3,” 27 September 2017, https://undocs.org/en/CMW/C/MEX/CO/3

[92] Secretaria de la Gobernación, Unidad de Política Migratoria, “Boletines Estadísticos: III Extranjeros Presentados y Devueltos, 2019, Cuadro 3.1: Eventos de Extranjeros Presentados Ante la Autoridad Migratoria, Según Entidad Federativa, 2019,” 6 July 2020, https://bit.ly/2Zd48lc

[93] Secretaria de la Gobernación, Unidad de Política Migratoria, “Boletines Estadísticos: III Extranjeros Presentados y Devueltos, 2018, Cuadro 3.1: Eventos de Extranjeros Presentados Ante la Autoridad Migratoria, Según Entidad Federativa, 2018,” 10 October 2019, https://bit.ly/3dj2BCH

[94] Secretaría de la Gobernación, Unidad de Política Migratoria, Registro e Identidad de Personas, “Eventos de Personas Extranjeras Presentadas por el INM: Enero – Noviembre de 2019,” https://bit.ly/3dckcw1

[95] Instituto Nacional de Migración, “Tema Migratorio 301219: Información INM Nacional,” 29 December 2019, www.inm.gob.mx/gobmx/word/index.php/tema-migratorio-301219/

[96] Unidad de Política Migratoria, Registro e Identidad de Personas, “Boletines Estadísticos: III Extranjeros Presentados y Devueltos, 2019, Cuadro 3.1 – Eventos de Extranjeros Presentados ante la Autoridad Migratoria, según entidad Federativa,” 6 July 2020, https://bit.ly/3qgyOOn

[97] Unidad de Política Migratoria, Registro e Identidad de Personas, “Boletines Estadísticos: III Extranjeros Presentados y Devueltos, 2017, Cuadro 3.1.4 – Eventos de Menores Presentados ante la Autoridad Migratoria, Según Continente, País de Nacionalidad, Grupos de Edad, Condición de Viaje y Entidad Federativa, enero-diciembre de 2018,” 10 October 2019, https://bit.ly/3aW8Idb

[98] Unidad de Política Migratoria, Registro e Identidad de Personas, “Boletines Estadísticos: III Extranjeros Presentados y Devueltos, 2017, Cuadro 3.1.4 – Eventos de Menores Presentados ante la Autoridad Migratoria, Según Continente, País de Nacionalidad, Grupos de Edad, Condición de Viaje y Entidad Federativa, enero-diciembre de 2017,” 13 September 2018, https://bit.ly/3plbnT2

[99] See: Global Detention Project, “Immigration Detention in Mexico: Statistics & Data,” https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/americas/mexico#statistics-data

[100] Consejo Ciudadano del Instituto Nacional de Migración, “Personas en detención migratoria en México: Misión de Monitoreo de Estaciones Migratorias y Estancias Provisionales del Instituto Nacional de Migración,” July 2017, https://bit.ly/3d6JD1R

[101] UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers, “Concluding Observations on the Third Periodic Report of Mexico, CMW/C/MEX/CO/3,” 27 September 2017, https://undocs.org/en/CMW/C/MEX/CO/3

[102] Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, “Informe Especial: Situación de las Estaciones Migratorias en México, Hacia un Nuevo Modelo Alternativo a la Detención,” 2019, https://www.cndh.org.mx/sites/default/files/documentos/2019-11/Informe-Estaciones-Migratorias-2019.pdf

[103] Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, “Informe Especial: Situación de las Estaciones Migratorias en México, Hacia un Nuevo Modelo Alternativo a la Detención,” 2019, https://www.cndh.org.mx/sites/default/files/documentos/2019-11/Informe-Estaciones-Migratorias-2019.pdf

[104] B. Cavendish and M. Cortazar, “Children at the Border: The Screening, Protection and Repatriation of Unaccompanied Mexican Minors,” Appleseed, 2011, https://www.appleseednetwork.org/uploads/1/2/4/6/124678621/children_at_the_border_report_2011.pdf

[105] R. Dominguez-Villegas, “Strengthening Mexico’s Protection of Central American Unaccompanied Minors in Transit,” July 2017, https://bit.ly/3tReOEl

[106] Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, “Informe Especial: Situación de las Estaciones Migratorias en México, Hacia un Nuevo Modelo Alternativo a la Detención,” 2019, https://www.cndh.org.mx/sites/default/files/documentos/2019-11/Informe-Estaciones-Migratorias-2019.pdf

[107] Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, “Informe Especial: Situación de las Estaciones Migratorias en México, Hacia un Nuevo Modelo Alternativo a la Detención,” 2019, https://www.cndh.org.mx/sites/default/files/documentos/2019-11/Informe-Estaciones-Migratorias-2019.pdf

[108] Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, “Informe Especial: Situación de las Estaciones Migratorias en México, Hacia un Nuevo Modelo Alternativo a la Detención,” 2019, https://www.cndh.org.mx/sites/default/files/documentos/2019-11/Informe-Estaciones-Migratorias-2019.pdf

[109] Consejo Ciudadano del Instituto Nacional de Migración, “Personas en Detención Migratoria en México: Misión de Monitoreo de Estaciones Migratorias y Estancias Provisionales del instituto Nacional de Migración,” July 2017, https://cdhfraymatias.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/CCINM-Resumen-Ejecutivo.pdf

[110] Consejo Ciudadano del Instituto Nacional de Migración, “Personas en Detención Migratoria en México: Misión de Monitoreo de Estaciones Migratorias y Estancias Provisionales del instituto Nacional de Migración,” July 2017, https://cdhfraymatias.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/CCINM-Resumen-Ejecutivo.pdf

[111] Consejo Ciudadano del Instituto Nacional de Migración, “Personas en Detención Migratoria en México: Misión de Monitoreo de Estaciones Migratorias y Estancias Provisionales del instituto Nacional de Migración,” July 2017, https://cdhfraymatias.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/CCINM-Resumen-Ejecutivo.pdf

[112] Consejo Ciudadano del Instituto Nacional de Migración, “Personas en Detención Migratoria en México: Misión de Monitoreo de Estaciones Migratorias y Estancias Provisionales del instituto Nacional de Migración,” July 2017, https://cdhfraymatias.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/CCINM-Resumen-Ejecutivo.pdf

[113] Consejo Ciudadano del Instituto Nacional de Migración, “Personas en Detención Migratoria en México: Misión de Monitoreo de Estaciones Migratorias y Estancias Provisionales del instituto Nacional de Migración,” July 2017, https://cdhfraymatias.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/CCINM-Resumen-Ejecutivo.pdf

[114] A. Aguilar et. al. “La Detención Migratoria: Un Análisis desde un Modelo Penitenciario y el Gasto Publico,Así Legal, Sin Fronteras, Fundar, January 2019, https://sinfronteras.org.mx/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/informe-estaciones-migratorias-2019-final.pdf; Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, “Informe Especial: Situación de las Estaciones Migratorias en México, Hacia un Nuevo Modelo Alternativo a la Detención,” 2019, https://www.cndh.org.mx/sites/default/files/documentos/2019-11/Informe-Estaciones-Migratorias-2019.pdf

[115] UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers, “Concluding Observations on the Third Periodic Report of Mexico, CMW/C/MEX/CO/3,” 27 September 2017, https://undocs.org/en/CMW/C/MEX/CO/3

[116] UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers, “Concluding O bservations of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, CMW/C/MEX/CO/2,” 3 May 2011, https://undocs.org/en/CMW/C/MEX/CO/2

[117] UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers, “Concluding Observations on the Third Periodic Report of Mexico, CMW/C/MEX/CO/3,” 27 September 2017, https://undocs.org/en/CMW/C/MEX/CO/3

[118] Elba Coria Marquez (Immigration lawyer), Interview with Karen Elena Marín Hernández (Global Detention Project), 21 November 2012.

[119] M. Ureste, “Insultos, revisiones de hasta 4 horas: CNDH documenta que el INM rechaza extranjeros ilegalmente,Animal Político, 8 December 2015, https://bit.ly/3qaTLdA

[120] Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, “Recomendación No. 42/2015: sobre el caso de violaciones a diversos derechos humanos cometidas por personal del Instituto Nacional de Migración Adscrito al Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México en agravio de los usuarios,” 30 November 2015.

[121] A. Garcia, “Venezolano denuncia que lo retuvieron sin comida en el Aeropuerto de CDMX,El Universal, 9 November 2019, https://bit.ly/3aX13vg

[122] Clínica Jurídica Para Refugiados Alaide Foppa, “Solicitantes de asilo, detenidos e incomunicados por el INM en el AICM,Desinformemonos, 25 October 2019, https://bit.ly/2ZgCXWB

[123] Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, “Informe Especial: Situación de las Estaciones Migratorias en México, Hacia un Nuevo Modelo Alternativo a la Detención,” 2019, https://www.cndh.org.mx/sites/default/files/documentos/2019-11/Informe-Estaciones-Migratorias-2019.pdf

[124] Colectivo de Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos en el Sureste Mexicano, Red Nacional, et al., “Impactos de la Política Migratoria de México en la Frontera Sur: Hallazgos de la misión de observación de derechos humanos en Tapachula, Chiapas,” November 2019, https://bit.ly/3rShPm9

[125] Colectivo de Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos en el Sureste Mexicano, Red Nacional, et al., “Impactos de la Política Migratoria de México en la Frontera Sur: Hallazgos de la misión de observación de derechos humanos en Tapachula, Chiapas,” November 2019, https://bit.ly/37oX6i3

[126] Colectivo de Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos en el Sureste Mexicano, Red Nacional, et al., “Impactos de la Política Migratoria de México en la Frontera Sur: Hallazgos de la misión de observación de derechos humanos en Tapachula, Chiapas,” November 2019, https://bit.ly/3jGmWCS

[127] Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, “Informe Especial: Situación de las Estaciones Migratorias en México, Hacia un Nuevo Modelo Alternativo a la Detención,” 2019, https://bit.ly/2NitwTZ

[128] Colectivo de Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos en el Sureste Mexicano, et al., “Impactos de la Política Migratoria de México en la Frontera Sur: Hallazgos de la misión de observación de derechos humanos en Tapachula, Chiapas,” November 2019, https://bit.ly/2Z9Ij67

[129] Colectivo de Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos en el Sureste Mexicano, et al., “Impactos de la Política Migratoria de México en la Frontera Sur: Hallazgos de la misión de observación de derechos humanos en Tapachula, Chiapas,” November 2019, https://bit.ly/2NiFQDV

[130] Asylum Access, “Ante los Riesgos por el Covid-19: Exigimos la Libertad Inmediata de Todas las Personas Migrantes, Refugiadas y Solicitantes de Asilo en Detención Migratoria,” 2 April 2020, https://bit.ly/2LIcK04

[131] Infobae, “México: Muere Guatemalteco en Protesta en Centro Migratorio,” 1 April 2020, https://bit.ly/2MR8A6U

[132] B. Cavendish and M. Cortazar, “Children at the Border: The Screening, Protection and Repatriation of Unaccompanied Mexican Minors,” Appleseed, 2011, https://bit.ly/2MWtNfq

[133] Consejo Nacional de Población (CONAPO), “Migración de niñas, niños y adolescentes: Antecedentes y análisis de información de la red de módulos y albergues de los Sistemas DIF, 2007-2016,” 2017, https://www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/186696/Migracion_NNyA_pag_114-199.pdf

[134] R. Dominguez-Villegas, “Strengthening Mexico’s Protection of Central American Unaccompanied Minors in Transit,” July 2017, https://bit.ly/3afBXIA

[135] R. Dominguez-Villegas, “Strengthening Mexico’s Protection of Central American Unaccompanied Minors in Transit,” July 2017, https://bit.ly/3a9Z5IB

[136] Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Nacional de Lanús (CDHUNL) and Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova (CDHFMC), “Los Derechos Humanos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes Migrantes en la Frontera México-Guatemala,” 20 September 2012, www.acnur.org/fileadmin/Documentos/Publicaciones/2013/9361.pdf

[137] R. Dominguez-Villegas, “Strengthening Mexico’s Protection of Central American Unaccompanied Minors in Transit,” July 2017, https://bit.ly/3a9Z5IB

[138] Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Nacional de Lanús (CDHUNL) and Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova (CDHFMC), “Los Derechos Humanos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes Migrantes en la Frontera México-Guatemala,” 20 September 2012, www.acnur.org/fileadmin/Documentos/Publicaciones/2013/9361.pdf

[139] B. Cavendish, and M. Cortazar, “Children at the Border: The Screening, Protection and Repatriation of Unaccompanied Mexican Minors,” Appleseed, 2011, https://www.appleseednetwork.org/uploads/1/2/4/6/124678621/children_at_the_border_report_2011.pdf

ENFORCEMENT DATA

Total Detainees/ Stock & Flow (Year)
59,155
2020
182,940
2019
93,846
2017
186,216
2016
198,141
2015
127,149
2014
86,298
2013
88,506
2012
66,583
2011
70,102
2010
69,033
2009
94,723
2008
120,455
2007
Alternative Total Entries/Flow (year)
0
Reported Population (Day)
106
2020
3,759
2020
Not Available
2017
Not Available
2016
Average Daily Population (year)
0
Countries of Origin (Year)
Honduras (Guatemala) El Salvador India Nicaragua
2017
Number of Asylum Seekers Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
Not Available
2018
Not Available
2017
Total Number of Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
53,507
2019
29,258
2018
18,066
2017
40,114
2016
38,514
2015
23,096
2014
9,630
2013
6,107
2012
Number of Unaccompanied Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
13,242
2019
7,326
2017
17,557
2016
20,368
2015
10,943
2014
Number of Accompanied Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
40,265
2019
10,740
2017
22,557
2016
18,146
2015
12,153
2014
Number of Stateless Persons Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
4
2017
Number of dedicated medium-term immigration detention centres
12
2013
23
2012
Immigration Detainees as Percentage of Total Migrant population (Year)
15.61
2015
Number of immigration offices
32
2018
Number of Detainees Referred to ATDs (Year)
Not Available
2018
Not Available
2017
Number of Deportations/Forced Removals (Year)
Not Available
2017
Number of Voluntary Returns & Deportations (Year)
82,237
2017
159,872
2016
181,163
2015
107,814
2014
80,902
2013
79,643
2012
Number of Apprehensions of Non-Citizens (Year)
Not Available
2017
Total Immigration Detention Capacity
8,524 ()
2020
Not Available (Not Available)
2017
Immigration Detention Capacity (Specialised Immigration Facilities Only)
3,061
2013
3,550
2011
Number of Transit/Border Detention Facilities
15
2013
Number of Dedicated Immigration Detention Centres
32
2013
35
2012
52
2007
25
2002
Number of Criminal Facilities Used for Immigration Detention
379
2016
Estimated Number of Ad Hoc/Unofficial Facilities
Not Available
2018
Criminal Prison Population (Year)
233,469
2016
249,912
2014
246,334
2013
219,027
2010
212,841
2007
193,889
2004
165,687
2001
128,902
1998
93,574
1995
85,712
1992
Percentage of Foreign Prisoners (Year)
1.2
2013
0.9
2008
Prison Population Rate (per 100,000 of National Population)
192
2016
209
2013
197
2010
197
2007
186
2004
164
2001
133
1998
101
1995
98
1992

POPULATION DATA

Population (Year)
128,900,000
2020
130,800,000
2017
128,600,000
2016
127,017,000
2015
118,395,054
2013
116,100,000
2012
International Migrants (Year)
1,060,707
2019
1,224,000
2017
1,193,200
2016
1,193,000
2015
1,103,500
2013
International Migrants as Percentage of Population (Year)
0.9
2017
0.9
2015
0.9
2013
Estimated Undocumented Population (Year)
Not Available (Not Available)
2017
Refugees (Year)
28,517
2019
16,549
2018
8,947
2017
6,153
2016
2,923
2015
1,831
2014
1,688
2013
1,520
2012
Ratio of Refugees Per 1000 Inhabitants (Year)
0.06
2017
0.05
2016
0.01
2012
0
2011
New Asylum Applications (Year)
70,366
2019
14,603
2017
8,732
2016
1,524
2014
811
2012
753
2011
Refugee Recognition Rate (Year)
36
2017
64
2016
54.5
2012
90.9
2011
Stateless Persons (Year)
13
2018
13
2017
13
2016
13
2014
7
2013
7
2012

SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA & POLLS

Gross Domestic Product per Capita (in USD)
10,325
2014
10,307
2013
9,747
2012
Remittances to the Country
24,865
2014
23,610
2011
Unemployment Rate
2014
2009
Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (in Millions USD)
806.7
2014
417,810,000
2012
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
74 (High)
2015
71 (High)
2014
61 (High)
2012
World Bank Rule of Law Index
36 (-0.7)
2012
36 (-0.8)
2011
34 (-0.8)
2010
Domestic Opinion Polls on Immigration
“The change between 2008 and 2011 is also impressive -more than 30 percent – in favour of foreigners to have the right to stay and become Mexican citizens. Consistent with this, in the same period, there is an opinion increase in favour of allowing foreigners to work in the country. Although in 2008 there was an increase in the percentage of Mexicans against the legalization of undocumented immigrants in the country, again, this trend is reversed in 2011 and reduced by nearly 20 percent. In particular, states that do not expel are those which favour this type of measures.”
2011
Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration
71
2007

B. Attitudes and Perceptions

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

Do Migration Detainees Have Constitutional Guarantees?
Yes (The Political Constitution of the Mexican United States. Articles 1, 11, 16, 18, 19 and 33.) 1917 1917
1917 2014
Detention-Related Legislation
Ley de Migración. 25 May 2011. (2011)
2011
Additional Legislation
Ley sobre Refugiados, Protección Complementaria y Asilo Político. (2011) 2014
2011 2018
Ley sobre Refugiados y Protección Complementaria. 27 January 2011. (2011)
2011
Ley General de los Derechos de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes (2014) 2019
2014
Regulations, Standards, Guidelines
Reglamento de la Ley sobre Refugiados y Protección Complementaria (2012)
2012 2018
Reglamento de la Ley de Migración. 29 September 2012. (2012)
2012 2012
Acuerdo por el que se emiten las Normas para el funcionamiento de las Estaciones Migratorias y Estancias Provisionales del Instituto Nacional de Migración. 8 November 2012. (2012)
2012 2012
Reglamento de la Ley General de los Derechos de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes (2015)
2015

GROUNDS FOR MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

Immigration-Status-Related Grounds
Detention to establish/verify identity and nationality
2013
Detention for unauthorised entry or stay
2013
Detention to effect removal
2013
Detention to prevent unauthorised entry at the border
2013
Detention for failing to respect a voluntary removal order
2013
Criminal Penalties for Immigration-Related Violations
No ()
2013
Has the Country Decriminalised Immigration-Related Violations?
Yes
2008
Children & Other Vulnerable Groups
Accompanied minors () Yes
2013
Asylum seekers () Yes
2013
Women () Yes
2013
Pregnant women ()
2013
Elderly ()
2013
Persons with disabilities ()
2013
Victims of trafficking ()
2013
Stateless persons ()
2013
Unaccompanied minors () Yes
2012
Mandatory Detention
No (No)
2013
Expedited/Fast Track Removal
No
2013
Re-Entry Ban
Yes
2013

LENGTH OF MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

Maximum Length of Administrative Immigration Detention
(60)
2013
Maximum Length of Detention of Asylum-Seekers
Yes ()
2013
Maximum Length in Custody Prior to Detention Order
(15)
2013

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION INSTITUTIONS

Custodial Authorities
Instituto Nacional de Migracion (Secertaria de Gobernacion) Interior or Home Affairs
2012
Instituto Nacional de Migracion (Secertaria de Gobernacion) Interior or Home Affairs
2011
Instituto Nacional de Migracion (Secertaria de Gobernacion) Interior or Home Affairs
2008
Instituto Nacional de Migracion (Secertaria de Gobernacion) Interior or Home Affairs
2005
Apprehending Authorities
Instituto Nacional de Migración (Immigration agency) Ministry of Interior (Home Affairs)
2014
Detention Facility Management
Instituto Nacional de Migración (Governmental)
2014
Instituto Nacional de Migracion (Governmental)
2012
Instituto Nacional de Migracion/Direccion de Estaciones Migratorias (Governmental)
2012
Instituto Nacional de Migracion (Governmental)
2011
Instituto Nacional de Migracion (Governmental)
2008
Instituto Nacional de Migracion (Governmental)
2005
Formally Designated Detention Estate?
Yes (Dedicated immigration detention facilities)
2014
Types of Detention Facilities Used in Practice
Yes ()
2014

PROCEDURAL STANDARDS & SAFEGUARDS

Procedural Standards
Information to detainees (Yes) No
2013
Right to legal counsel (Yes)
2013
Access to free interpretation services (Yes)
2013
Access to consular assistance (Yes)
2013
Access to asylum procedures (Yes)
2013
Right to appeal the lawfulness of detention (Yes)
2013
Complaints mechanism regarding detention conditions (Yes)
2013

DETENTION MONITORS

Types of Authorised Detention Monitoring Institutions
Consejo Ciudadano del Instituto Nacional de Migración (CCINM) (Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO))
2016
Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (National Human Rights Institution (or Ombudsperson) (NHRI))
2013
Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos. Tercera Visitaduría General (OPCAT National Preventive Mechanism (NPM))
2013
Sin Fronteras (Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO))
2013
i(dh)eas, Litigio Estratégico en Derechos Humanos, A.C. (Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO))
2013
Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova (Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO))
2013
Is the NHRI Recognised as Independent by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions?
Yes
2013
Does NHRI Visit Immigration Detention Centres?
Yes
2013
Does NHRI Receive Complaints?
Yes
2013
Does NHRI Release Reports on Immigration Detention?
Yes
2013
Does the NPM Visit Immigration Detention Centres?
Yes
2013
Does NPM Receive Complaints?
Yes
2013
Does NPM Release Reports on Immigration Detention?
Yes
2013
Do NGOs publish reports on immigration detention?
Yes
2013
Names of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that Carry Out Detention Monitoring Visits
Yes
2013

TRANSPARENCY

READMISSION/RETURN/EXTRADITION AGREEMENTS

Bilateral/Multilateral Readmission Agreements
El Salvador (2006)
2006
Guatemala (2006)
2006
Honduras (2006)
2006
Italy (2002)
2002
France (1998)
1998

COVID-19

COVID-19 DATA

INTERNATIONAL TREATIES

International Treaties Ratified
Ratification Year
Observation Date
ICPED, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
2008
2008
CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
2007
2007
OPCAT, Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
2005
2005
CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
2003
2003
CTOCSP, Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
2003
2003
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
2000
2000
PCRSR, Protocol to the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
2000
2000
CRSSP, Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
2000
2000
ICRMW, International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
1999
1999
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child
1990
1990
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
1986
1986
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1981
1981
ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
1981
1981
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
1981
1981
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
1975
1975
VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
1965
1965
Individual Complaints Procedures
Acceptance Year
Observation Date
CRPD, Optional Protocol to o the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2007
2007
2007
ICERD, declaration under article 14 of the Convention 2002
2002
2002
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 1999 2002
2002
2002
CAT, declaration under article 22 of the Convention 2002
2002
2002
ICRMW, declaration under article 77 1999
1999
1999
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 1966
1966
1966
Ratio of Complaints Procedures Accepted
Observation Date
6/7
2017
Relevant Recommendations Issued by Treaty Bodies
Recommendation Year
Observation Date
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women 48. The Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Revise the Migration Act, with a view to abolishing automatic detention, and, in the interim, expand the release programme to all states; (b) Ensure effective access to fair, efficient and gender-sensitive refugee status determination procedures; (c) Ensure that the rights of migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls to health services, housing and employment are implemented in all states; (d) Ensure that all necessary services with regard to employment, health care, psychological counselling, education and participation in public affairs are made available to migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women; (e) Ensure that all cases of enforced disappearances of migrant women are effectively investigated and that perpetrators are prosecuted and punished, to a degree commensurate with the gravity of the crime committed. 2018
2018
2018
Committee on Migrant Workers 22. The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (see CMW/C/MEX/CO/2, para. 52), and invites the State party to take effective, prompt and comprehensive steps to: (a) Guarantee the life, liberty and integrity of migrant rights defenders, including measures to prevent, investigate and ensure appropriate penalties for attacks and abuses against them; (b) Publicly acknowledge their work and establish a register of cases reported, investigations conducted and cases settled to be included in the next periodic report; (c) Facilitate the exercise of their work, including by ensuring broad access to migration detention centres, shelters and other similar establishments. [...] 38. The Committee recommends that, as a matter of priority, the State party: (a) Urgently take all necessary steps to put an immediate end to the deprivation of liberty of children and adolescents and of migrant families, guaranteeing in law and in practice adequate alternative measures based solely on the protection of rights under the General Act on the Rights of Children and Adolescents; (b) Ensure effective and immediate action regarding processes of identification and referral of persons in vulnerable situations and their transfer to alternative accommodation; (c) Develop an action plan to ensure that deprivation of liberty on migration-related grounds — for adult migrant workers — is applied only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible time, based on the principles of exceptionality, proportionality, necessity and reasonableness; (d) Guarantee, in law and in practice, the provision of alternative non-custodial measures for migrant workers in an irregular situation, to be applied as a first resort and with due regard to the individual ’ s circumstances by the appropriate administrative and/or judicial authorities; (e) Ensure that migrant workers are informed of procedures and rights in a language they understand. [...] 40. The Committee urges the State party to: (a) Ensure due process guarantees, including the right to an interpreter, in migration-related detention procedures; (b) Do everything possible to guarantee the right to free legal assistance and representation in migration-related detention procedures, including by providing resources and training to the Federal Public Defender Service. Additionally, the Committee recommends the conclusion of agreements with civil society organizations specializing in such assistance; (c) Ensure that detention of migrants is an exceptional measure of last resort applied for the shortest possible time, that grounds are specified in each case, giving the reasons why alternative measures cannot be implemented, and that the measure is reviewed in under 24 hours by an independent and impartial judicial authority; (d) Guarantee the right of access to justice, without resulting in the prolonging of detention, in accordance with article 111.V of the Migration Act, to ensure that persons covered by an alternative measure or applying for asylum are not detained for an indefinite period while their application is being considered. [...] 42. The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (see CMW/C/MEX/CO/2, para. 34), and urges the State party to guarantee adequate, decent conditions in migrant detention centres; the centres should not resemble a prison facility either in appearance or purpose. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Provide adequate, gender-sensitive health services, including sexual and reproductive health services, psychological care, water, sanitation and hygiene, food, and leisure and recreational activities; (b) Put an immediate stop to the use of punishment cells; (c) Put an end to any situation of overpopulation or overcrowding; (d) Investigate and punish in an appropriate manner State officials who violate the rights of migrants in these centres; (e) Train State officials in places of detention on human rights, gender equality, the best interests of children and adolescents and non-discrimination; (f) Implement the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission and guarantee the full implementation of the national mechanism for the prevention of torture. [...] 44. The Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Ensure that persons subject to an administrative order of expulsion or return, or seeking refugee status, can avail themselves of support services and free legal representation, and are aware of and can exercise their right to an effective remedy; (b) Develop mechanisms to prevent the expulsion of migrants until each individual situation has been appropriately evaluated, in order, among other things, to uphold the principle of non-refoulement and the prohibition of collective and arbitrary expulsion; (c) Strengthen the implementation of policies and mechanisms designed to provide alternatives to expulsion or return, including the right to asylum, complementary protection, leave to remain on humanitarian grounds, and other forms of regularization. 2017
2017
2018
Committee against Torture Subcomitté por Prevention on Torture: See paragraph 93 on: http://cmdpdh.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/anexo-informe-del-subcomite-sobre-su-visita-a-mexico-del-12-al-21-de-diciembre-de-2016.pdf 2017
2017
2018
Committee against Torture “Administrative detention of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants 21. The Committee is concerned by reports of torture and disappearances of migrants present in the territory of the State party. It is also concerned by reports of ill-treatment, overcrowding and substandard conditions of detention in many of the State party's migrant holding centres, where there is a lack of hygiene and insufficient medical care and where men and women are not always held in separate facilities at all times. The Committee notes that effective mechanisms are not in place for the identification and referral of trafficking victims who may be held in these centres. While it applauds the recent promulgation of the Refugees and Supplementary Protection Act and the Migration Act, the Committee regrets that it has not been furnished with detailed statistics on the number of refugees, asylum seekers and other non-citizens in the State party. It also regrets that the data that have been provided on applications for asylum do not correspond to the reporting period and do not include information on the number of persons who have been returned, extradited or expelled (arts. 2, 3, 11 and 16). The State party should: (a) Ensure that thorough investigations are carried out into cases involving acts of torture, including disappearances and ill-treatment of refugees, asylum seekers and other foreigners housed in the territory of the State party; (b) Improve conditions of detention in migrant holding centres.” 2012
2012
2012
Committee on Migrant Workers 33. The Committee remains concerned by the poor conditions in some of the places where migrants are held or detained, where there are still cases of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment being carried out with impunity, and by the lack of medical care and restrictions on contact with the outside world. It is particularly concerned by situations in which undocumented migrant workers who claim to have been tortured and ill-treated in some cases have to live alongside the perpetrators of these violations. 34. The Committee recommends that: (a) further appropriate measures should be taken to improve the conditions of detention in migrant holding centres and other places where migrants are held, in accordance with international standards; (b) complaints of ill-treatment and degrading treatment committed by public officials in migrant holding centres and other places where migrants are held should be investigated and those responsible should be criminally sanctioned. 35. The Committee is concerned by the information provided by the State party that migrant workers held in migrant holding centres who lodge appeals relating to their migration status or who make use of the procedure to determine refugee status are kept in those centres for prolonged periods. 36. The Committee recommends that the State party limit the detention of migrant workers in holding centres to the shortest time period possible. 41. The Committee notes the efforts made by the State party to inform undocumented migrant workers who are in migrant holding centres about their rights, how to obtain a humanitarian visa if they are victims or witnesses of trafficking in persons or migrants smuggling, the right to consular assistance and the possibility of requesting asylum. However, the Committee is concerned about allegations that such information is not provided to migrant workers in some migrant holding centres or not provided systematically, especially in the case of persons in such centres who opt for voluntary repatriation. 42. The Committee recommends that effective measures be taken to ensure that all migrant workers held in migrant holding centres, including those who opt for voluntary repatriation, are properly informed of their rights in a language they understand, especially with regard to their rights to consular assistance, to seek remedies concerning their migration status, to request asylum and to receive information about the possibility of obtaining a humanitarian visa if they have been victims or witnesses of trafficking in persons. 56. The Committee encourages the State party to continue its efforts to pay adequate attention to the situation of unaccompanied migrant children and to respect the principle of the best interests of the child. In particular, the State party should: (b) Ensure that the detention of migrant children and adolescents is carried out in accordance with the law and used only as a last resort and for the shortest possible time; 2011
2011
2011
For logistical reasons, and in order not to duplicate efforts, the delegation did not visit any migrant detention centres, which were the subject of a recent assessment by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the subject. 2009
2009
2009
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination The Committee remains concerned at the situation of migrant workers who originate principally from indigenous communities in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, particularly as regards women, who are victims of such abuses as long working days, lack of health insurance, physical and verbal ill-treatment, sexual harassment, and threats that they will be handed over to the migration authorities because they are undocumented. (Art.5 (e) (i) Bearing in mind general recommendation No. 30 on non-citizens, the Committee recommends that the State party should ensure the proper Implementation in practice of programmes for migrant workers, such as the Programme of Documentation for the Legal and Migratory Security of Guatemalan Farm Workers, the Regularization of Migration Programme, the Programme for upgrading migrant holding centres, the Plan of Action for Cooperation in Migratory Matters and Consular Protection with El Salvador and Honduras and the Agricultural day labourers’ programme. The Committee calls on the State party to include in its next periodic report information on progress made in relation to the situation of migrant workers in the State party. 2006
2006
2006
Committee on the Rights of the Child The Committee recommends that the State party, taking into account the Committee’s general comment No. 6 (2005) on the Treatment of Unaccompanied and Separated Children Outside their Country of Origin, take all necessary measures to: (d) Ensure that asylum-seeking children and children who have an irregular migratory status are not detained and have access to special reception and care arrangements, such as that provided by the Tapachula centre. 2006
2006
2006

NON-TREATY-BASED INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Visits by Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council
Year of Visit
Observation Date
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants 2008
2008
Relevant Recommendations from the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2009
2017
No 2013
2017

REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Regional Legal Instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
Observation Date
ACHR, American Convention on Human Rights 1981
1981
APACHR, Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1996
1996
CBDP, Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Para) 1998
1998
IACPPT, Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture 1987
1987
IACFDP, Inter-American convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons 2002
2002

GOVERNANCE SYSTEM

Legal Tradition(s)
Civil law
Federal or Centralised Governing System
Federal system
2014
Centralised or Decentralised Immigration Authority
Centralized immigration authority
2014

DETENTION COSTS

OUTSOURCING

FOREIGN SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR DETENTION OPERATIONS