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.
This report provides an analysis of Mexico’s Southern Border Program, setting it within a historical context, describing the program and its consequences, and examining its legacy…This report sought to determine if the sharp rise in operations, apprehensions, personnel, and crimes against migrants during the program’s peak was entirely the result of the
program’s policies, or if these numbers had also increased proportionally to the growing number of Central Americans migrating through Mexico. To examine this question, the authors developed a model to estimate the number of Central American migrants leaving their home countries for
Mexico and the United States. Ultimately, the model found that enforcement levels and other developments appear to be due to factors beyond evolving migration patterns.
This report concludes with policy recommendations that seek to regularize migration in Mexico, clarify the legality of joint operations, improve the program’s public transparency, and strengthen the humanitarian goals originally laid out by the Southern Border Program.