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The following report is from a year-long investigation by M.A. students at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with FM4 Paso Libre, a civil society organization based in Guadalajara, Jalisco that is dedicated to the defense and promotion of migrant and refugees’ human rights through comprehensive humanitarian assistance, advocacy, and research. The project emerged from a shared binational interest and concern for pressing public policy challenges related to migration, and the direct impact that these challenges have on migrants, refugees, and civil society.
The Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) participated in the project through the pioneering Research Center, which studies migration throughout Mexico and works closely with FM4 Paso Libre. COLEF`s involvement in this project created the possibility to continue fostering greater understanding around migration, provide information for decision makers working on these topics, and sensitize communities regarding migration.
The project and corresponding travel and field research was made possible by the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
Table of Contents
Table of Acronyms
Chapter 1: Central American Refugees in Mexico
Economic Instability and Structural Violence
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Political and Social Conflict
Chapter 2: The Refugee Application Process
Legal Process to Solicit Refugee Status
Refugee Status Applicant Demographics
Chapter 3: The Role and Structure of COMAR
Chapter 4: Guaranteed Rights for Refugees
Introduction to Mexico’s Refugee Legal Framework
Chapter 5: Obstacles for Refugee Integration
Institutional Barriers to Refugee Integration
Obstacles to Accessing Basic Services
Discrimination and Ignorance
Chapter 6: Policy Responses
Expand COMAR’s Operational Capacity and Address Staffing Concerns
Expand and Improve Refugee Integration and Support Services
Reduce Violations of Rights and Discrimination