18 | AGO | 2019
Illegal immigrants traveling on train across Oaxaca – File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Mexico to become a receiving country: UN

Teresa Moreno
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Central American immigrants are no longer seeing Mexico just as a transit country but a destination where they can "have a better future"

Mexico is bound to become a receiving country, mainly of Central American immigrants, who see the nation less as a transit country and more as a destination, according to the UN Resident Coordinator in Mexico and Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Antonio Molpeceres.

This phenomenon is happening in highly industrialized cities, located in the North of the country, such as Monterrey, Nuevo León, Saltillo, and Coahuila, which have become labor markets for the immigrants.

“A challenge Mexico is about to face is immigration. It's starting to become a receiving country, whether [Mexicans] likes it or not. This is going to be a reality. Many of the individuals currently at detention centers [of the National Institute of Migration] aren't trying to reach the United States, but Monterrey and Saltillo,” he said.

During an interview, the UNDP official declared Mexico is seen on an international level as an emerging economy, which has caused several immigrants – mainly Central American – to want to live, work, and raise their children in the country “to have a better future.”

This situation has been seen before in other Latin American countries, such as Chile and Panama, where the first generation of immigrants is being born – and not necessarily due to the anti-immigration policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, but because of the economic growth of the countries.

“The restrictions placed by the United States are, in a way, encouraging people to dismiss it as a feasible destination country, but this phenomenon [the increase of immigrants in Mexico] that we've been observing for quite some time, has started to be noticed by citizens from other countries who think Mexico is their future,” he claimed.

The arrival of foreigners who decide to settle in the country will be a huge challenge for Mexico, as there is the integration of these individuals into our society and culture to think about.

Public officials and the policies of the Government will have to adapt to this new reality, where we'll have to consider, for instance, education for children who don't speak Spanish and help adults learn the language.

“It's not only due to economic reasons, many people are escaping from an extreme situation of violence in Central America and see in Mexico a more peaceful place, where they can raise their children. We see Asian communities which have begun to develop in Mexico City – that is a challenge,” reaffirmed Molpeceres.


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