Thursday, July 10, 2014


Counselor for Economic Affairs and Scientific Cooperation, Embassy of Mexico in El Salvador. (Between August 2009 and August 2012).
Central American Integration System
The dynamism of trade and investment between Mexico and El Salvador has been largely improved since the entry into force in 2001 of the Free Trade Agreement between Mexico and El Salvador in the framework of the Treaty of Northern Triangle including Guatemala and Honduras. Investments of Mexican companies are close to 1500 million US dollars according to  non official estimates of January 2010 and Salvadorean business investments in Mexico grew steadily especially Salvadoran SMEs. 
Also to be considered is the Free Trade in North America (NAFTA) that includes more than 35 million consumers of Mexican descent living in the USA and nearly 3 million people of Salvadorean origin settled in the United States. Many of the younger immigrants were born in the USA. 
In total, nearly 54 million Latinos are living in the United States and the growth of the Latino market in the U.S is steady. this huge Latino market equals or exceeds the purchasing power of countries like Mexico and Central America combined. 
Many immigrants in the United States dream of starting a business or build a business of imports and exports, and both Mexico and El Salvador receive with open arms their hometown nationals who wish to return and start investing in their homes-countries. In El Salvador there is a clientele hungry for products from Mexico, there are potential buyers who appreciate and wish to sell goods imported from Mexico. 
Find guidance in the section of Economic Affairs of the Embassy of Mexico in San Salvador that is under my responsability and I will help you to find the addresses and telephone numbers of Mexican companies that you are interested as well as local firms in El Salvador. 
To begin, visit the following websites:   these are the websites of Mexican government entities promoting investments in Mexico and Mexican exports,  Promexico, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of Economy. 
Visit website of Embassy of Mexico in El Salvador:    
( Tel 503-2231-3000
How to contact Salvadoran firms 
To start businesses and strengthen business relationships with Salvadoran companies, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of El Salvador offers an effective solution to entrepreneurs in other countries as well as Salvadoran entrepreneurs seeking to internalize their business.  
Business Opportunities
If you want to promote products and services for searching representatives or partnerships, the Chamber will be a key ally. This service optimizes time and maximizes the resources of the businessmen who seek to establish productive relations in El Salvador. 
On this site you will find advice on Trade and Investment, Trade Opportunities, Economic Indicators, Statistics of Foreign Trade, Directory of Exporters and Importers, General Profile of El Salvador. 
It contains economic information (bulletins, economic indicators and statistics) Financial Information (legislation, financial data). And procedures with SISEX (read below). 
The SICEX - Integrated Foreign Trade System, a system that connects through the Internet, exporters, and government entities, agencies linked to foreign trade and the Center for Export Procedures, (CENTREX)  
Contains a directory of domain of El Salvador (SV), You can register Web domain, request IP number .... 
You can perform the calculation of import of vehicles, tax information and other services provided by the Ministry. 
National Registration Center (CNR):    
Services provided by the Directorate of Cadastre, Register of Commerce and Intellectual Property Registration Property & Mortgages Root, National Geographic Institute. 
Guide found paperwork concerning this ministry, law, prices news, business information, Economic and Social Information .... 
What is ADES?
The Association of Distributors of El Salvador - ADES, is an entity completely apolitical and nonprofit, seeking to defend, encourage and promote the interests of its membership, since they represent 85% of consumer products offered in the Salvadoran market. 
ADES has succeeded in becoming a union representative for the distributor sector, achieving and encouraging the growth of domestic trade. Its partners are authorized to represent dealers in El Salvador to companies, foreign or domestic houses with different products. Also, explore to become a membership in the National Association of Private Enterprise –ANEP-, it ensures your relations with important actors in the national economy of El Salvador.  
To defend the interest of distributors, to promote union, business opportunities and competitive development of members, thus obtaining the benefit of its members and their customers, stimulating the development of the commercial sector and contributing to the economic and country's social. 
Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of El Salvador ... 
Institution dedicated to promoting and facilitating fairs, exhibitions, conventions and other national and international events .... 
Iberoamerican Association of Chambers of Commerce:   
Latin American Organization that integrates and coordinates to the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and other sectors of its geographical area ...
BORSICCA is a tool created to support the exchange of waste through an electronic system that allows marketing use or reinstatement of these, the different production chains that are developed in the region ....
As part of a strategy to push the bill in different countries, on August 26th, 2009, was launched in BORSICCA in El Salvador, whose local manager and operator will be the Chamber of Agriculture and Agribusiness in El Salvador (CAMAGRO) and the Foundation National Center for Cleaner Production (CNP + L). This event was attended by representatives of furniture manufacturing industries, cement, paper and cardboard, poultry, among others. 
Since the launching of BORSICCA, it has been conducted in Guatemala by the Guatemalan Center for Cleaner Production (CGP + L), who presented on July 30 BORSICCA to the business community of this country and are pending the release of same in Nicaragua. BORSICCA account since early 2008, funded by the Cooperation Agreement CCAD / USAID / CAFTA-DR and Regional Cooperation Program for Environment with Central America in partnership with the Spanish Agency of International Development Cooperation (AECI) and Spain Fund SICA, coordinated by the Guatemalan Center for Cleaner Production, and the implementation of various activities by the Cleaner Production Center of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. 
Subsequently, in June 2008, extending the project, with funding from the Biodiversity Foundation of Spain and Support AECID SICA / CCAD / Support Environment Plan with Central Araucaria XXI from the Biodiversity Foundation and the AECI. This extension considered worked on the implementation of additional activities in cleaner production for the countries of Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.  CAMAGRO Who are we?
The Chamber of Agriculture and Agribusiness in El Salvador (CAMAGRO) is a private, apolitical, non-profit. Its primary objective is to link all natural and legal persons engaged in activities related to agriculture, forestry, fishing, food processing and other related activities
Being the guild leader and inclusive conditions conducive to the development of agricultural and agribusiness sector strong, competitive and successful.
To safeguard the interests of agricultural and agribusiness sector and boost its competitiveness and integration of productive chains.
Macro strategy:
Creating an agricultural policy in the medium and long term and lead to strategies for achieving its adoption by the next government.
CAMAGRO has the goal of getting to lobby and influence the relevant government bodies for the implementation of agricultural policy.
If you are a Mexican investor and you are residing in El Salvador you should join or at least attend business meetings and workshops organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of El Salvador (, also should establish contact with the Salvadoran Chamber of Industries ( ) and if you are interested in agricultural and agribusiness sector should establish contact with  
These chambers  will serve you with speed and great kindness, you can also send an email to their contact information emails in their official websites. For young entrepreneurs who start a business or are professionals  that in the near future are thinking to start a business, there is in San Salvador Chamber of Commerce and Industry of El Salvador ( An ideal organization where all events, conferences and meetings bring together entrepreneurs eager to make new contacts.
CAMARASAL is a very dynamic and active organization that helps new entrepreneurs and you can become a member from a share accessible to the year for those who are entrepreneurs or prospective annual individual membership, please call Tel 503-2231-3000
To start businesses and strengthen business relationships with Salvadoran companies, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of El Salvador offers an effective solution to entrepreneurs in other countries as well as Salvadoran entrepreneurs seeking to internalize their business. If you want to promote products and services for representatives or partnerships. This service optimizes time and maximizes the resources of the businessmen who seek to establish productive relations in El Salvador.
CAMARASAL was the organization hosting the event business: Name: Business Meeting MEXICO - EL SALVADOR 2009
Date: 23 to 26 November
Frequency: Annual
Venue: Chamber of Commerce and Industry of El Salvador
Host Country: El Salvador
No. of Exhibitors: 12 Mexican companies
Organizer: Trade Point Mexico
Contributors: Embassy of Mexico in El Salvador, Sria of Finance via the SME Fund and
Visitors Profile: Sector: multisectoral
Event Profile: Business Meeting
El Salvador, San Salvador, 2009.
If you live in Santa Ana, San Miguel, Sonsonate and La Union you should join CAMARASAL Regional Office:
San Salvador. Phone: (503) 2231-3000 (503) 2231-3000
Fax: (503) 2271 - 4461. Email:
Santa Ana Phone: (503) 2440 - 5446 (503) 2440 - 5446
Fax: (503) 2440 - 1338. Email:
San Miguel. Phone: (503) 2683 - 8800 (503) 2683 - 8800
Fax: (503) 2683 - 8802. Email:
Sonsonate. Phone: (503) 2451 - 7225 (503) 2451 - 7225
Fax: (503) 2451 - 2929. Email:
La Union. Phone: (503) 2604-0330 (503) 2604-0330
Fax: (503) 2604-0330. Email:
It is not difficult to register a company or business, in each municipal or county registration office there is a business registration desk in each city government and you need to apply, they will ask the name of the business to start, line of business, payment of a fee between for registration and a similar share to maintain current annual registration.
To start or expand a small business in San Salvador or other cities in El Salvador you should visit the website of the local city: If you have Internet access (or you can visit any public library) you should visit the local business chamber and government websites and visit local banks for information about loans for small firms in San Salvador.
You may want to visit the following website to relocate your business in El Salvador:  bellow follows a current PROESA report
Distance Business Services
STREAM, Sykes, Teleperformance, Transactel, Crowley Shared Services, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics DIGITEX are some of the world-renowned companies have established projects in El Salvador and services that provide business services to clients Distance in the Western Hemisphere - especially those related to Call Center / Centers Contact Centers and Business Process.
The relocation and / or outsourcing of business services from abroad have become a good opportunity for companies to meet high productivity at lower costs.
El Salvador, located in Central America, allows companies a strategic option in terms of location, allowing easy access to U.S. and South America.
The quality of its workforce, adequate infrastructure and continually renewed, and its favorable investment climate, making El Salvador an ideal destination for business development and operations of Enterprise Services to establish a Distancia.
Investment Opportunities
In recent years, the contact center industry has been the most dynamic segment in the services sector in El Salvador. Contact centers established in the country can be categorized into three areas:
Customer service, sales and technical support.
All these companies have found the Salvadoran labor quality and language skills that enable providing world class services globally.
El Salvador offers a business climate and infrastructure ideal for businesses looking to centralize and expand its operations in the Western Hemisphere. Establish a transaction relating to Remote Enterprise Services in El Salvador allows significant reduction in costs through process optimization and resources as well as lower prices in the acquisition of property, human resources and telecommunications services.
Some of the business services currently provided from El Salvador are: Customer Service, Telemarketing, Technical Support, Software Development, Document Processing, Sales Specialist, accounting and documentation processes
Why El Salvador?
Competitive and comparative advantages that El Salvador has in the sector:
* Weather appropriate business
* Political and economic stability, ensuring certainty and predictability during the period of presence in the country;
* Strategic location El Salvador shares the same time zone with the United States (U.S. Central zone; GMT - 6:00), which caters to customers from around the world;
* Access to major cities in the Western Hemisphere within normal travel schedule.
* Telecommunications infrastructure that lets you communicate with everyone
El Salvador offers access to advanced communications technologies, which allows us to offer faster and more reliable service at competitive prices; El Salvador is interconnected through 4 high quality optical fibers which guarantee a 99.9% redundancy, availability of highly labor productive, educated, creative and young, fast learning and service-oriented.
About 60% of the population of El Salvador are people under 36 years of age. This ensures the power access to manpower young and eager to work.
Labor costs are the lowest in the region, which is positioned to El Salvador as an ideal source of well trained human resources at competitive costs.
Cultural affinity with one of the largest markets in the world: the United States.
Availability of skilled manpower to serve the U.S. Hispanic market, equivalent to 15% of its total population and whose economic power as the Research Corporation Hispanic Market Strategy ("Strategy Research Corporation on Hispanic Market") will reach U.S. $ 1.2 trillion in 2012.
Higher Education.- El Salvador has 46 universities and technical institutes, with approximately 114,000 students aspiring to a degree or specialization in one or more races and / or academic and professional programs.
For more information contact: Julia Rosa Lima / Advisory Business Services Distance:
In El Salvador the documents needed for registration of a company are usually the Tax Identification Number (NIT) for all people without exception, DUI (single identity document if salvadorean) if you are a foreigner, you will need your residence document or valid passport from your country of origin, address where you will install the business, official identification such as driver's license and passport or an accepted form of identification by authorities in some cases it may be useful as a reference, to have your business bank account.
You have to investigate the local market before getting providers that want to import your goods and do customs clearance investigation to find out if your goods have to pay duties. Also, you should investigate whether the product you want to bring to your potential customers, if other retailers are already importing them, and to see if a product is very competitive and will be offered by other traders.
In a word, exploring and studying the market to get an idea of the possibility of selling the product we want to import. The same study be carried out if you think getting goods from El Salvador to Mexico. There are often established channels with low prices for certain products and is not feasible to compete as a small merchant. Useful links: ( ) ( and (
 It is worth exploring the website of Mexico states, for example, Guanajuato is: (, just change the name of the state, for other states. Every state has offices for migrants and attractive programs to support new investment or business in Mexico.
For example, the state of Guanajuato in Mexico has  page that has information about demand for Mexican products in the U.S. and support they can give the government of Guanajuato to potential exporters in the state.
It is essential to know whether a product that we bring to El Salvador has no health restrictions, ecological or the tax rate is high which makes unaffordable imported. For example, food and beverages must meet certain health standards and still be packaged, canned or tinned certain regulations must be met by the Ministry of Health of El Salvador.
In the case of certain crafts such as clay dinnerware manufactured from palm or vegetable there are certain rules as zero lead content in paint or clay dishes pest control in agricultural products. In other words, it is important to have a general idea of the requirements for importation to the U.S., not only the health standards for animal products and plant but to know the import regulations (labeling, net weight and drained, allowed conservatives, etc.) and tax rates approximate. Visit:
On this site you will find information on procedures or services that the Ministry of Public Health offers in relation to supervising and control of food and beverages.
Select from the list of procedures or services which you are interested or need, click on it and you'll see general information about each of these also may be downloaded to your PC the necessary forms, which, once completed, will be submitted to the Department of Food Hygiene in the Management of Environmental Health.
     * Rates of payment for services (pdf)
     * Extension of free sale certificate
     * Sanitary registration and / or renovation of imported food and beverages
     * Sanitary registration and / or renewal of national food and drink
     * Authorization to import foods, raw materials and food additives
     * Recognition of the Health Record Members of the Customs Union
     * Authorization of users to produce or import alcohol
     * Technical opinion conditions of handling and storage of chemicals
     * Installation and Operating Permit issued by Health Health Units
     * Application Form for Importation of Foods and Beverages (pdf)
From the operational point of view for import-export activities, you will  need to hire a custom broker. For these procedures in Mexico, visit the wevsite of the Confederation of Customs Brokers of Mexico:  website where you can get phone numbers and addresses of custom agents in Mexico. If you have small orders, it is necessary to evaluate costs, because sometimes can be cheaper to buy certain products to wholesalers or retail chains already established in your own country.
WHAT IS THE MEXICAN CUSTOMS AGENT .- In accordance with Article 159 of the Customs Law of Mexico in force is "a natural person authorized by the Ministry of Finance through a patent, employed to promote the clearance of goods under the various schemes under this law. " Customs brokers is not a public official is a member of the private initiative that contributes to the Treasury Department in controlling the entry and exit of goods, the proper payment of contributions and countervailing duties.
100% of cargo entering and leaving this country, 94%, is carried through customs agents, so we can say that the customs broker is a major strategic partners of Mexican companies and the federal treasury because the former is provided as a service "out sourcing customs" that allows companies to reduce major costs of operation and control of its operations and the second, helped with the audit and collection of contributions to foreign trade, as data highlight that the customs agents collect 44% of the national VAT.
The broker also checks:
• previous import permit before the Department of Economics.
• Certificates of origin.
• Treaties and trade agreements that Mexico has signed with other countries.
• Mexican official standards.
• Authorizations health.
• Permits phytozoosanitary health.
• Authorizations for environmental protection.
• Tagged business information.
• Marked by country of origin.
 In some cases better than the small importing business to associate with others of the same item to buy in bulk and service group to pay a broker. Visit:  
The equivalent site in El Salvador is:  of the Directorate General of Customs of El Salvador that provides comprehensive information on customs regulations, tariff system, rules of origin, trade agreements in force, border customs directory, inland, maritime, air, and more internal and peripheral information of interest to importers and exporters.
In the case of Mexico, the customs authority requires the importer or exporter who is registered in the register of exporters and importers in order to accomplish these tasks, which involves having a number of taxes in Mexico warrant or fourth. For this reason and the need to follow the steps to export it from Mexico is important to contact a broker to do the import motion to El Salvador. In the case of exporting products from El Salvador to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, salvadorena business people should use the facilities afforded by the free trade treaty between Mexico and the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala) must take advice and service of a customs agent of each of the countries you want to export.
It is advisable to investigate the background of good customs agents so that there is full confidence in the work of loading, certificates of origin, tax collection, in-depth knowledge of exempted products and discounts on used goods, etc.. In the case of Salvadorean exports to Mexico is very likely for you to have a number of foreign taxes as if not a permanent resident or citizen of Mexico. Remember, your tax number (NIT) will not be useful in Mexico and other countries.
In the U.S. case, remember that many Salvadorans and Mexicans who are not U.S. residents successfully perform business at the U.S., many entrepreneurs Salvadoreans and Mexicans in the U.S. maintain their permanent residence in El Salvador or Mexico but participate in fairs and exhibitions in USA, others conduct business  in U.S. territory but these kind of business people do not want or need permanent residency in the United States because they have their permanent headquarters in Mexico or El Salvador.
If you are starting a business for sale at retail of imported products, most of the cities of El Salvador have local ordinances or regulations governing the operation of business. We recommend visiting the offices of the mayor regarding the opening of small businesses. Sometimes it is very advisable to be a member of the local chamber of commerce business since you will have relevant information to properly register your new business, learn about financing and loans available to minority businesses or local incentives and programs, departmental and generally any kind of support that exists in the locality or region where you operate. If you live in San Salvador will be very useful to visit the website:   to locate most goods distribution business and services. For locating government offices of El Salvador visit:
Nationwide offices can locate all departments entering www. If you want to export goods should Salvadorans visit to harness the resources of COEXPO-EL SALVADOR must register at no cost. Complete your information   
If you want to open a small food business have to meet stricter health standards, some training of workers, cooks hygiene, food handling refrigerated baths, fire-fighting equipment, emergency exits, etc.
When your business has paid employees have to meet standards of safety, accident prevention, verification of work permits for employees, local ventilation, environmental standards and other standards. Might suit visiting the website of the Ministry of Labor and Social Prevision of El Salvador:
If you initiate operations in Mexico or El Salvador and other countries in the region and your business operates in the space of your home for being a craft workshop, a publishing company, and so on.  You maybe entitled to deduct tax exemptions or insurance payment or part of it for you and your wife and children if working in the family business. In Mexico, visit   and   In El Salvador, visit:  and
For these reasons, it is advisable to pay an accountant you trust that as a small businessman and the possibility of performing many deductions for rental expenses, gasoline, purchase of office supplies or raw materials, including discounts on services such as electricity, gas and mail among others. A good accountant can save many dollars and the cost of the Tax accountant expert is definitely money well spent, is actually a wise investment. If you live in Mexico are advised joins the chamber of commerce or your local industry to industry visit and trade   visit In El Salvador visit:   and    If you live in Mexico, El Salvador or the United States, join the local chamber immediately to help your local business, usually the annual membership fee as an individual takes a bit more than average of $ 100 dollars, you get many benefits and new relationships for your business.
I wish much success in your new business, remember that even small, you should keep accounts and budgeting of costs and profits. If you do not have administrative preparation and marketing skills, do not worry, look for information in local chambers of commerce in your area, join as an individual to pay lower fees, if  you do not money to join, attend free workshops, go to social gatherings and do not get tired of asking always, Good luck in your new business


Este documento fue compilado por la Red Nacional para los Inmigrantes y Refugiados de Oakland y la Coalición para los Derechos Humanos de los Inmigrantes de Los Angeles.

Es importante que este informado de sus derechos antes, durante y después de que una redada se lleve a cabo. La información siguiente da importantes consejos sobre lo que debe hacer y no hacer si es detenido por agentes del Servicio de Inmigración, policía local o cualquier autoridad.

ANTES DE UNA REDADA,  se recomienda:

*Este preparado y adelante sus precauciones, contacte a un abogado de inmigración, su organización comunitaria o su consulado para estar informado de sus derechos.

*Sepa cuáles documentos usted debe llevar con usted todo el tiempo. Se aconseja que lleve su matricula consular o licencia de manejo del estado donde vive. Estos documentos contienen información acerca de usted pero nada sobre su situación migratoria.  No lleve documentos que haya traído de su país de origen y evite documentos falsos.

*Si es posible, lleve una tarjeta escrita en inglés donde usted declara que quiere ejercer su derecho de permanecer callado sin declarar en caso de que sea interrogado por agentes de Inmigración. Siempre lleve con usted los teléfonos de un abogado o del área de protección de su Consulado que le podrán proporcionar ayuda en caso que lo detengan.

* Informe a sus vecinos y compañeros de trabajo sin importar cual sea su situación migratoria de que tienen derecho a permanecer callados si agentes de Inmigración llegan a su vecindario o lugar de trabajo.


* No deje entrar a un agente de Inmigración o de la Policía a su casa si no tienen una orden escrita del juez -Court Warrant-, si no la tienen, necesitan su autorización para entrar a su casa. Digales que le muestren esa orden por debajo de la puerta. Dicha orden debe contener los nombres de las personas que los agentes están buscando. Debe estar firmada por un juez. Usted no debe abrir la puerta si los agentes no tienen esa orden (algo parecido a la llamada orden de cateo) y si su nombre o el de las personas que viven con usted no aparece en dicha orden.

*En caso de que los agentes de Inmigración o la Policía entraran a su casa sin esa autorización. Preguntele sus nombres o escriba los números de sus gafetes. Obtenga el nombre y teléfonos de cualquier testigo que haya observado cuándo y cómo entraron.

 *No trate de correr. Si usted lo hace, Inmigración puede usar eso en su contra. Puede negarse a responder preguntas sobre donde nació y su situación migratoria, hágalo solo si su abogado está presente para asesorarlo. Si usted da un nombre falso, sus familiares tendrán dificultad para localizarlo.

* Mientras está detenido, infórmelo y pida ayuda para resolver su problema. Comparta información acerca de la redada con sus compañeros de trabajo. Si existe un sindicato contacte a un representante sindical para conseguir apoyo.


Si la redada se lleva a cabo en su lugar de trabajo o en
aeropuertos siga las mismas recomendaciones: permanecer tranquilo y no correr, guarde silencio y no firme documentos hasta que tenga un abogado o un representante consular. “Mil veces major indocumentado que con documentos falsos”. Tiene derecho a ver un representante consular de su país.



 *No firme ningún documento. Si funcionarios de Inmigración tratan de convencerlo de firmar cualquier documento, usted puede negarse a firmar. Si firma., podría suceder que el documento que usted firmó les permite deportarlo sin darle oportunidad de ver a un abogado de Inmigración. Pida un recibo de cualquier objeto o dinero que le sea confiscado. Reporte cualquier incidente de abusos, -no tiene que dar su nombre- a su organización local o a su consulado.

También puede llamar a la Red Nacional de Apoyo a Inmigrantes y Refugiados al Tel. 510-465-1984, que le comuniquen a una persona que hable español y pida que le den teléfonos y direcciones de organizaciones a favor de derechos de inmigrantes en la localidad o región donde usted vive. Usted puede llamar al Departamento de Protección de su Consulado más cercano. Directorio de Consulados de México en el mundo se encuentra en:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Central American transmigrants in Mexico: violation of human rights in Mexico and the US: policy proposals for the United States, Mexico and Central America to promote public policies to support Human Rights of Migrants

Central American transmigrants in Mexico: violation of human rights in Mexico and the US: policy proposals for the United States, Mexico and Central America to promote public policies to support Human Rights of Migrants. (Draft paper not to quote, to be release after presentation at Mazatlan Forum on March 8th 2013. Event organized by  and Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, California

Bernardo Mendez Lugo, member of the Mexican Foreign Service (My views in this paper are personal and do not represent the point of view of the institution where I work).

Thank you very much to El Colegio de Sinaloa and President Jose Angel Pescador Osuna and Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology of Berkeley, California for the invitation to participate in the forum "Crossing Borders Mazatlan Forum 2013" with timely topics, relevant and inspiring to examine the assumptions of political, economic and social conditions in the U.S. and Mexico.

This Forum, organized by academic institutions in the US and Mexico with a broad vision of social and historical realities, allows a genuine discussion to bring the paradigms and assumptions among scholars, officials, stakeholders and entrepreneurs of the two countries on issues of key global interest. We need to approach them according to our regional priorities. I refer to issues of social commitment that have been delivered by Dr. Michael Sweeney, the role of social actors in the contemporary state as they have been discussed by film director and producer Ron Austin and my friend and scholar Roberto Blancarte.

Special mention should have the discussion of youth issues, the search for truth and the role of social networks as noted masterfully by Honorable Agnieszka Winkler and her aims to find new models of authority in an unprecedented environment of virtual reality increasingly influential . It is also worth mentioning the questioning of the figure and content of the family institution and the idea of ​​family and how to define rights, obligations and belonging to contemporary household, the contributions of Dr Anselm Ramelow are relevant to this discussion. And on issues regarding migration issues I should mention discussions by my friend Dr Rodolfo Tuirán, the former U.S. Congressman Dan Lungren, Professor Erika Montoya Zavala and Dr Patrick Brennan, focusing on the state of the art of this matter and how the immigration reform should be completed in the US but the structural changes needed in labor force supply countries such as Mexico and the Central American region.  

No less important are the reflections of my friend and sinaloense countryman, Dr Luis Astorga Almanza, UNAM, whose rigorous work on drug trafficking, state and violence in Mexico I have known since its inception, and it fits together well with the analysis of my work on vulnerability of Central American transmigrants passing through Mexico. Obviously they have the same vulnerability as Mexican migrants trying to cross into the United States as I witnessed while I was Deputy Consul of Mexico in Tucson. In the Arizona-Sonora border region where life risky hazards are present in both states and Sonoran Desert where drug cartels and organized crime have been active for years trying to recruit migrants.

The prevalence and dominance of the paradigm of the market economy involves rethinking many ideological assumptions and public policy in both countries as doctors André Delbeq, my friend Dr. Miguel Breceda, and Dra. Mary Hirshfeld have discussed. This dominant framework and economic reality raises the need  to seek economic models compatible with sustainable and equitable development, which is not easy to harmonize and integrate. It is in this great framework outlined by our colleagues and should be located above my ideas regarding the urgency of a profound reordering of priorities in various aspects of Central American transmigration.

Each year, over 400,000 Central American migrants transit through Mexico,  who are headed for the United States, having as destination in most cases, the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco in California, where are settled down nearly half of Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Hondurans living in the United States.

Transmigration is a complex problem because of unfavorable economic conditions and violence in their home countries that expells Central American migrants who come from the three countries mentioned above. When transmigrants are deported from the United States are concentrated in towns of the Mexican border side, this influx of migrants generate demand for services, housing and employment in Mexico, which becomes a heavy financial burden for Mexican border cities.

According to the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) violence creates displacement of villagers in the countries of Central American “Northern Triangle”, consisting of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

In the document entitled "Forced displacement and protection needs for new forms of crime and violence in Central America," prepared by United Nations Agency for Refugees (ACNUR in Spanish) and the International Centre for Human Rights of Migrants (CIDEMUH) analyzes the main causes of displacement in Central America in the XXI Century, including drug trafficking, extortion and harassment of gangs (maras) and other criminal groups operating locally in each of these countries and transnational.

In Central America there is also a constant labor economic migration and the difficulties prevailing seeking better living standards. According to the study, organized crime generates the largest displacement of IDPs, which "is evidenced most strongly in the Northern Triangle countries, as reflected in increasing levels of violence (homicide and crime)"

Organized crime has increased its presence in Central and it is clear the negative effects evidenced by extortion, killings, forced recruitment, strategic control over territories. The above report emphasizes the needs of national and international protection for victims of organized crime.

"In the case of Honduras the figures are very revealing: in 2011 had a homicide rate of 86.5 per 100 thousand inhabitants, is the highest in the world, while in 2012, this rate dropped to just 85.5 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants "said the study.

Those seeking international protection and recognition as refugees often turn to Canada, USA, Mexico, but also to other Central American countries like Costa Rica and Panama. Not all Central Americans beset by violence in their home countries seek refuge in these countries, many of them begin their journey to the north, particularly to the United States, where family and friends reside and had already been established. Social networks and family guideness help new comers to find work and establish in the U.S. gradually.

Much of the flow can not be accepted as a refugee and good number of Central American migrants transit through Mexico without visa or immigration papers. This situation makes them very vulnerable to criminal organizations of various kinds as smugglers, drug traffickers and others. However, it does not exclude municipal, state and federal officials of Mexico, sometimes they use their power against transmigrants or have complicity with organized crime.
Several studies show that many transmigrants try to pass average a dozen times into U.S. territory. In their journey through Mexico and temporary stay in the border towns of Mexico, they become victims of traffickers and organized crime seeking to recruit migrants to carry back packs with drugs to the US territory.

It should be recognized that Mexico's new Immigration Law enforced since May 2011 and its regulations issued in November 2012, aimed at ensuring the protection of human rights of these transmigrants and their rights to education and health in their passage through Mexico regardless of immigration status. However, some legal experts have indicated that both law and regulations have flaws and gaps that could affect its full implementation by complicated content, breadth and depth that can become a dead letter. (See editorial "Migration: a model kit" IDC's Journal October 31, 2012, p. 2, publication of Grupo Editorial Expansion in Mexico City)

The key policies for solving the problem of transmigration of undocumented workers and their families lies in the capability of generating decent employment options and increased security in their home countries.  A percentage of these transmigrants who have spouses, parents and relatives in the U.S., may benefit from the U.S. immigration reform in process of approval that will allow family reunification, and in these cases, Mexico should promote humanitarian visas to Central American transmigrants that have ample opportunity to regularize their legal status in the U.S..

Although processes have many similarities, transmigration of Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans is not the same, and each country has its peculiarities. In the case of El Salvador, Mariana Flores Castillo researcher at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas has written that "in El Salvador, where international labor migration has become a significant phenomenon, the roots of this process can be found in the XIX Century. At that time, workflows were differentiated by social class.

For example, the first migrants who arrived in the Bay Area of ​​San Francisco tended to be the elite of Salvadoran society, while those engaged in migration to coffee crops were peasants. During the sixties and seventies of last century, migration to the United States was formed by a relatively small group of migrants who established the basis of the social networks that would support later for new migrants." Castillo Flores notes that many of these migrants in the United States are now permanent residents or citizens. However, not all the new migrations are given within established legal structures.

In our view, there is a duality in the current migration process: part of the new migrations have previous legal structures but a part of the new stream in the last fifteen years, depends on "coyotes or smugglers"  and not all new Central American migrants have family with legal ties in the U.S. The Bay region of San Francisco includes big cities like San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland, along with urban and smaller rural towns. The Bay Area consists of approximately seven thousand square miles, comprised of nine counties and 101 cities. The nine counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma.

Castillo Flores points out that "for the eighties of last century, civil war uprooted thousands of Salvadorans. Many rural areas fled to neighboring Honduras while others sought refuge and anonymity in urban areas. Those who were statistically counted went to the United States in record numbers. The increasing restrictions to enter the United States contributed to the growth of a parallel journey structure required large sums of money paid to “coyotes” or smugglers, the industry currently handles much of undocumented migration to the United States. "

Today is unclear the number of undocumented Salvadorans in the United States, according to figures derived from arrests by the Mexican National Institute of Migration (known by the acronym of INAMI in Spanish) 9.981 Salvadorans were returned to El Salvador, this number is for Salvadorean migrants that  tried to reach the United States between January and December 2009, but these figures are unreliable since they are based on detentions, but not in actual traffic. The table presents the researcher Flores Castillo on postback events / expulsion and repatriation of Mexico as Central American nationality in the period 2004-2009 according to the National Migration Institute of Mexico (INAMI), the year with the highest number of Central American migrants returned from Mexico was 2005 with a total of 226, 205 people. Adding deportations and voluntary repatriations, in 2009 this figure dropped to 61, 525 people returned to their home countries (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua). Source:

The economic recession in the United States has influenced lower flow of Mexican and Central American migrants to the northern border of Mexico between 2008 and 2012 but there are many reasons and factors to explain the vagaries of migration flows.

The relentless rise in violence in Mexico-both by criminal groups as federal and state authorities-in the period 2007-2012 against Central American migrants, was the main cause of the increase in repatriations of Hondurans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Nicaraguans passing through Mexico in those years, in search of ever more distant American dream. "The route has become much more complex than it used to be, so many migrants and desist voluntarily repatriate ask that," he said in an interview with the blog "Desinformémonos" the human rights defender , Martha Sanchez, member of Mesoamerican Migrant Movement.

It should be recalled that in August 2010, 72 mostly Central American migrants, were killed in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The high vulnerability of Central American transmigrants and of any nationality stems from several factors: the vast majority of them traveling without documents, subject to the "coyotes" or "smugglers" who are traffickers and they increasingly have links with crime related to organized drug trafficking and other crimes such as human trafficking. Also we should not minimize the increasing presence of gangs or "maras" in Central Mexico and Mexican territory.

In a word, the vulnerability of Central American migrants is not just about violence by some Mexican authorities, but a complex web of organized crime, which does not exclude the complicity of trafficking networks and crime branches established in the United States, integrating gangsters, smugglers, drug dealers and prostitution rings for women and children.

Recommendations done on December 2006 by Professor Rodolfo Casillas in his essay on Central Transmigration also remain valid diagnosis: "The knowledge of immigration from the south is still very limited knowledge in Mexico. More limited is the critical mass of expertise on transmigrants in Mexico since these flows are highly effective and will remain part of the national agenda, we recommend:

"Encouraging and sponsoring specialized studies on various immigration flows from Central and South America. Extending the conceptual framework and categorization in order to have a wide spectrum of causes and motivations of migration.  Mexico has to change the view that the transmigrants are a risk, for the simple fact of being, we need to put in question the idea that trasnmigration represents a danger to national security. New views and paradigms are needed in the conceptual and operational precision of national security in the specific terms of international migration in Mexico and its relationship to the national security system. The National Migration Institute of Mexico needs to renovate strategy and patterns of action towards transmigrants. As Professor Rodolfo Casillas writes, we agree with his proposals and recommendations:

- Promote the participation of government agencies engaged in social, economic and cultural policies, labor training, education and health providers, especially in the design and implementation of programs serving immigrants and transmigrants in Mexico. Their current involvement is minimal and intermittent or non-existent. This desirable participation could counteract excessive and unnecessary actions of law enforcement bodies and the police approach that has been imposed on the treatment of immigrants and undocumented transmigrants, somehow, replicating some of the US traditional policies of Immigration enforcement.

- While international migration issues is a federal responsibility, efforts have to be done at the state and local in order to coordinate a consistent national policy. So far, this coordination occurs almost exclusively with public safety, consistent with the previous point, it is not enough and not always relevant.

-The Mexican government has signed and ratified international conventions protecting migrants and their families, of their human rights and their relationship with the desirable development of nations. However, such efforts are required to strengthen the effect that these international commitments become daily practice in a comprehensive national plan and to enact public policies based in the overview of the problem as   social phenomena.

It should be noted that the president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto has proposed a new strategy to struggle organized crime, which gives a 360 degrees turn out from that applied in the past six years by former President Calderón. The new governmental program includes objectives outlined that follows the axis of the strategy that will put emphasis on social prevention, although this does not annul “de facto” coercitive ways to attack crime, which, most likely, will join the actions of Mexican civil society and citizens non government organizations  .

In our view, It is not just a change of strategy against crime is to rethink the development model, to address the needs of out-migration areas and substantially improve the living conditions of farmers, indigenous people and urban poor. A timely response would have been generated in this forum and both El Colegio de Sinaloa and the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology of Berkeley, as well as all participants have a great task ahead, to enforce the support of young people and civil society proposals, that have been defined in this Foro de Mazatlan.

Appendix: on Central American migration process irregular transit through the territory of Mexico in the last 20 years. Source:

The purpose of reaching the United States worsened since the mid-eighties, as a result of the intensification of armed conflict in Central America. The continued increase in these flows in the nineties and later with variations up to a record high in 2005, despite having signed peace agreements and end the civil war in El Salvador and Guatemala in 1992 and 1996, respectively.
• The volume of transit migration irregular Central Mexico to the United States can be estimated indirectly by the sum of three groups: (a) held by Mexican immigration authorities (50-55%), (b) the retained by U.S. immigration authorities along the border with Mexico (25-30%), and (c) those who managed to enter and reside in the United States after having illegally crossed the Mexican territory (15-20%).

• The Central American migration to Mexico irregular traffic shows an increasing trend from 1995 to 2005. Since 2006 the trend changed to the downside, and there is a reduction of about 70% in the period 2005-2010, from 433,000 to 140,000 events in both years. It refers to events because a person may travel to Mexico for the United States in more than once during the same year. During 2009 and 2010 the flows appear to be stabilizing.

• The interaction of various factors explain the tendency of these flows in recent years, ie, would not have the same effect if presented at different times. Prominent among these, and slowing U.S. economic crisis and the increased immigration enforcement by the country on its southern border and within its territory, considering that Mexico's strategy of retaining these flows throughout the country, has not changed substantially. By February 20th 2013, Mexico´s srategy regarding Central American migrants has not changed

• Other factors that have gained importance in the last two years and drive the downward trend is the growing insecurity in Mexico, particularly in the north and the more vulnerable they are exposed migrants to violence against by organized crime during their transit through Mexico, a situation that includes extortion, kidnapping and even murder. While these factors are affecting the reduction of irregular migration flows, international experience shows that while there are inconsistencies between migration policies and labor markets, this migration will continue to exist and will be higher risks and costs these migrants.

• Both groups, migrants held by Mexico and the U.S., show a similar trend over the whole period (1995-2010), although the magnitudes are different and tend to converge in recent years.

• Between 1995 and 2004, Mexico made six arrests for each of those made by the United States, for the period 2005-2008 the ratio was two to one, and for the period 2009-2010 was 1.5.

• While nationals of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, are between 92 and 95% of all inmates in the detention facilities of the INM between 2006 and 2010 as mentioned above, according to U.S. records, the Central Americans accounted these years for 89% of total non-Mexican illegal immigrants detained by the U.S. Border Patrol in the area of ​​the border with Mexico and only 7% of the total, to include Mexican migrants are the large volume of migration irregular in that border.

• This tells us that in addition to the irregular transit migration through Central Mexico to the United States, there are also migrants from other countries well below that similarly use Mexico as a transit territory to try to reach the United States, they may have arrived irregularly or documented in the country. This group is not the subject of this analysis.

1 See Cornelius Wayne A. (2007). "A decade experimenting with a policy of. Control of unwanted immigration "Enriqueta Cabrera (ed.) Challenges of Migration. Balances of the US-Mexico relationship. Mexico: Ed Planeta. pp. 251-282, and Douglas S. Massey, Jorge Durand, Nolan J. Malone (2009). Behind the frame migration policies between Mexico and the United States. Mexico: Ed H. Chamber of Deputies, LX Legislature, Autonomous University of Zacatecas and Editorial Porrúa. pg. 145-153