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Mexico Plans to Expand Repatriation Program to Colombia


mexico Repatriation Colombia
Mexico’s Repatriation Program expands to include Colombians, offering financial support and job opportunities – Credit: Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH)

On Tuesday, March 26, Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) stood by his plan to help Venezuelan migrants return to their home country. He promised them financial support and job opportunities, stating that this approach would better manage immigration issues. Additionally, he mentioned that Colombians and Ecuadorians would receive similar support.

AMLO argues that “even though this is not a quantitative matter, we have to look at the numbers. We have to spend 4 billion dollars deploying the National Guard and guaranteeing refuge for migrants.”

How does the program work? 

Mexico will pay 110 USD per month for a semester to immigrants who return to their home country. The aim is to provide jobs in their hometowns, which is both efficient and humanitarian.

The announcement that Colombia and Ecuador signed deals to push the program forward provoked criticism. AMLO, in response to critics, stated that criticizing this initiative is a regressive approach, pointing out that Mexico has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. The policy has proven to be effective in decreasing the number of Mexican citizens immigrating to the United States and reducing crime rates in the countries where it has been implemented. 

Between December 2023 and March 2024, transit on the Mexico-United States border was reduced by 54%. The president once again asked the Biden administration to contribute $20 billion to this initiative. 

The caravan crisis

When asked about a caravan of two thousand people setting out from Tapachula, Chiapas, toward the United States border, Lopez Obrador responded, “We will handle it, as always, and we are assisting.”

Chancellor Alicia Bárcena offered some insight into the program. The initiative includes a deal with fifty Mexican companies to generate ten thousand jobs for migrants who decide to stay in Mexico. “Regardless of the case, we always protect and help migrants,” she affirmed.

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