Open Letter to President Barack Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto


Very Distinguished President Barack Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto;

Receive an affectionate and respectful greeting from the Mexican migrants who make up the Mexican Network of Migrant Leaders and Organizations (Red Mexicana), an organization that has the vision of living in a world where the rights of the Mexican migrant community are respected and where migration is an option and not a necessity to survive.

The Mexican Network welcomes President Obama’s historic visit to Mexico scheduled for May 2. We hope that President Obama’s visit will usher in a new era of change and reform in the relationship between Mexico and the United States. Last November’s elections demonstrated the demographic importance of Mexicans living in the US and their importance for the future of both countries. The population of Mexican origin constitutes 10.8% of the population of the United States.

We hope that President Obama’s visit to Mexico opens the door to a mutually beneficial and respectful relationship between the two countries so that together we can respond to the challenges we face as neighbors. Challenges that go beyond security issues, such as immigration reform, sustainable economic development, elimination of poverty, environmental degradation, education and cultural exchange.

In this sense, we urge you to contemplate policies beyond the immediate, it is imperative not to lose sight of the most transcendental challenge: the articulation of a new generation of economic and social policies that ensure that the majority of Mexican people can access real opportunities for well-being. and progress that gradually make emigration to the North an increasingly less necessary option.

In particular, long-term immigration policy reform must address the root causes driving migration to the United States, including huge inequalities in wealth distribution, economic dislocation in major communities of origin, and the impact of free trade agreements such as NAFTA and CAFTA whose effects have resulted in the displacement of thousands of people from their communities of origin and in particular the loss of jobs in the countryside. We believe that there is no rational immigration policy that can ignore these realities.

At the same time, the United States must differentiate national security policy from immigration policy; with particular attention to policies that pertain to border security and border control policies. It is important to end military-style operations on the border which have negatively impacted the human and civil rights of communities in border areas. Border security and border management policies must be developed with the direct participation of civil society organizations and local governments in the communities of border areas.

Likewise, we expect progress towards a new public policy in terms of drug policies that recognizes the widely documented failure of the “war on drugs” in the last 40 years and that new drug policies are generated that are clearly differentiated from the policies of migration management in border areas.

On the other hand, we are concerned about the impact of temporary worker programs, since in the past the rights of temporary workers have been systematically violated, therefore, we urge that during the time that the temporary worker program is in force, their rights must be guaranteed. labor rights, the right to decent housing, adequate transportation, the right to organize in unions and the right to apply for permanent resident status with the right to citizenship after three years.

We urge not to miss the opportunity of this visit without establishing the principles of a binational process that seeks to resolve the obsolete and inhumane nature of the migration policies currently in force in both countries. Immigration policy is not a domestic issue that concerns only the US, migration is a binational issue that concerns both countries. Hundreds of thousands of Mexican families have paid heavily for the costs of the outdated US immigration policy. In the last four years, 1.5 million immigrants have been deported, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),71 % of the 392,000 deportees in 2010 are of Mexican origin. More than half of the people deported only had minor crimes.

We take the opportunity to urge President Obama to suspend deportations until long-awaited immigration reform is achieved.

In addition to the necessary immigration reforms in the United States, we urge President Peña Nieto to take leadership and ensure that foreigners residing in and/or transiting through Mexico are granted the same rights for which Mexico advocates for its fellow citizens in the Exterior. It is imperative to ensure that the human rights of foreigners transiting through Mexico, especially our Central American brothers and sisters, are fully respected.

The situation faced by migrants in the United States and Mexico has generated a humanitarian crisis which demands your leadership to ensure that migratory flows between the two countries take place in safe, humane and dignified conditions, thus contributing to improving the condition of life of our migrant peoples, in the country of origin and destination.

We hope that President Obama’s visit to Mexico results in concrete actions based on co-responsibility and binational agreements that guarantee respect for the human rights of migrants and that Mexican migrants are treated as true subjects of development and not as a danger or threat to the US.