During the last twenty years, significant progress has been made to establish binational civil society organizations (CSOs) that work in the United States and Mexico to advance in the promotion and defense of the human rights of migrants, particularly in the destination country, as well as in projects that promote social and economic development in the communities of origin.
In this sense, three of the most paradigmatic organizations are the Federation of Zacatecan Clubs of Southern California (FCZSC), the Federation of Michoacán Clubs in Illinois (FEDECMI) and the Binational Oaxacan Indigenous Front (FIOB). Each of these has developed different strategies, platforms, and activities that have institutionalized them as transnational organizations, creating new binational coordination structures and mechanisms. What these and other similar organizations have made clear is that migrant organizations are an actor that transforms the political, social and economic reality of the communities of origin and destination. Furthermore, they have enormous potential to influence the well-being of the migrant community and their families at the local, state and national levels.
The United States continues to care and support its communities and countries of origin, placing special attention on local community development” (Shannon 2006: 85).
One of the central characteristics of this transnational or binational civil society is that it develops its activities in the countries of origin and destination simultaneously. In other words, the people who make up these citizen groups participate in public life both in the United States and in Mexico. In November 2010, during the last assembly of the People’s Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights (AGP) held in Mexico City and during the Civil Society Conference, organized within the framework of the IV World Forum on Migration and Development in Puerta Vallarta, one of the central axes of the debate was the issue of how to strengthen migrant organizations. Fox and Gois (2010) identify that migrant organizations usually arise in a context where various types of civil society organizations, not only those led by migrants, interact with other actors to influence different issues of interest to society. Even this happens at a time when governments show a certain willingness and openness to dialogue on some particular issues (Bada, et. al. 2010).
Organizational agendas are often intertwined, as in the case of the development agenda in Mexico. The challenge is to identify when and under what conditions migrants become involved both locally and transnationally, which is understood as active transnationalism.
In this sense, what facilitates and encourages migrant organizations to mature, become institutionalized and actively participate in advocacy processes on issues that directly affect them, both in the communities of origin and destination? What internal and external factors facilitate the process of building self-representation capacity, as reported by Fox and Gois (2010)? Once this has been identified, it is possible to answer the question:
What are the challenges that organizations face and how can other actors (government agencies, private foundations, the private sector and other CSOs) support them so that this process is effective, efficient, constant and reliable? permanent?