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News > Mexico

Mexico Urges US To Regularize Migrants' Legal Status

  • A migrant on the border between Mexico and the U.S., Feb. 2024.

    A migrant on the border between Mexico and the U.S., Feb. 2024. | Photo: X/ @Newsweek

Published 27 February 2024

There are 37.3 million Mexicans living in the U.S., with some 5.3 million being undocumented.

On Monday, Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena highlighted the importance of Mexican migrant workers to the U.S. economy, and again urged Washington to regularize their legal status.


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Mexicans working in the U.S. contribute over US$324 billion annually to the nation's economy in such essential sectors as agriculture, services and construction, Barcena said, adding that "the regularization of Mexicans is not unprecedented. In 1986, 3 million Mexicans were regularized." 

Mexico is requesting the United States to make "a similar and fair gesture" to regularize undocumented Mexicans who have worked there for more than five years, including half a million young people protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act.

The influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border rose to unprecedented levels at the end of 2023. In Dec. 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded nearly 250,000 encounters with migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, the highest monthly total on record.

To curb mass emigration, the United States needs to approve a budget of US$20 billion annually to promote development in Latin America and the Caribbean, Barcena said, calling on Washington to lift its sanctions on Venezuela and trade embargo against Cuba.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has already proposed these measures to his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, along with others, such as controlling the flow of U.S. weapons into Mexico.

Mexico is one of the few countries that has to grapple with all phases of the immigration cycle, from being a source of migrants to being a transit country, a destination and a point of return for deportees. There are 37.3 million Mexicans living in the United States, with some 5.3 million being undocumented.

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