Mexico-Baseline assessment of irregular migration flows and mobility monitoring in border crossing points within the context of COVID-19

03 Sep 2021 Mexico Round 1 Download

In March and April 2021, the Government of Mexico met with its counterparts from Honduras and Guatemala in order to implement measures aimed at containing migration. In addition, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) agreed with the Government of the United States a deployment of more than 10,000 soldiers on the southern border[1].  The Mexican Government is committed to a migration policy of containment, which continued during the May.

With the measures taken in 2020 by Mexico and Guatemala to contain migration on the southern border, the presence of the National Guard and the National Institute of Migration is now permanent. These are checkpoints with the presence of elements, not systematic travel documentation control. The purpose of this presence is to monitor the area and, in suspicious cases, request the relevant documentation. In the same way, they are in charge of providing care to those who apply for refugee status.

At the end of April, President AMLO met with the governors of Tabasco and Chiapas to discuss an increase in military presence on the southern border of Mexico with the purpose of protecting migrants, particularly children, and avoiding potential negative situations against this population[2].

Building on its containment strategy, the Mexican Government is making efforts to extend the "Sembrando Vida" (Sowing Life) program[3] in El Salvador and Honduras. In different press conferences, the president has stated that, in Honduras, 431 growers are already planting trees. In El Salvador there are already 1,070 growers registered in this program[4].

The recent harmonization of the “Migration Act” and the “Refugees, Complementary Protection and Political Asylum Act regarding migrant children”, which defines that girls, boys and adolescent cannot be detained or confined in migration stations, has generated a new dynamic in migration flows.

Key informants indicate that, since the deployment of the National Guard to contain irregular migration on the southern border, migrants are choosing to diversify their migration routes to avoid detention. This situation increases the vulnerability risk of migrants by exposing them to human trafficking by organized crime networks that operate in these sectors.


[1] Animal Político (Political Animal). AMLO agrees with the US to have 10,000 soldiers prevent migrants from crossing the southern border. (April 12, 2021)


[2] Martínez, S., La Razón. AMLO: Military presence will increase on the southern border to protect migrant children.  (April 21, 2021)  


[3] This program of the Mexican Government involves the promotion of planting fruit or timber trees. Its objectives are to rescue the countryside, reactivate the local economy, and regenerate the social fabric of the communities.

[4] Garduño, R y Martínez, F., Sembrando Vida already has experience in Central America: AMLO.  (23 April 2021)



Laura Canché,