Central American Refugees in Mexico: Barriers to Legal Status, Rights, and Integration, PRP 206




Leutert, Stephanie

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LBJ School of Public Affairs


Mexico’s migratory laws outline a robust framework for refugee integration, but there are challenges with fulfilling the legal mandates. One primary challenge is a lack of institutional support for improving refugee integration at the federal, state, and municipal levels of government. In particular, financial resources and personnel have not kept pace with the increasing number of refugee applications, leaving COMAR without the capacity to fully address the current situation. To fill the gaps, civil society actors have stepped in, but their efforts cannot substitute for developing long-term institutional capacity. In addition to large-scale structural barriers, refugees face challenges in attempting to access employment, healthcare, and education. These challenges include but are not limited to low wages, informality, job market saturation, difficulty accessing financial institutions, burdensome bureaucracy, and a general lack of information about rights and procedures. This combination of challenges complicates refugees’ integration into Mexican society.



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