Immigrants to Mexico experience halfway favourable integration policies, typical of the average MIPEX country. Mexico scores 51/100, like the MIPEX average country (49). Immigrants in Mexico encounter as many obstacles as opportunities to integrate.
Mexico’s approach to integration is classified by MIPEX as ‘equality on paper’ only. As in Argentina and Chile, immigrants in Mexico enjoy basic rights and long-term security, but they do not enjoy equal opportunities. Although immigrants in Mexico enjoy overall halfway favourable policies, major obstacles emerge for immigrants in education and political participation.
A country’s approach to integration matters because policies influence whether or not integration works as a two-way process. The way that governments treat immigrants strongly influences how well immigrants and the public interact and think of each other. Drawing on 130 independent scientific studies using MIPEX, integration policies emerge as one of the strongest factors shaping not only the public’s willingness to accept and interact with immigrants, but also immigrants’ own attitudes, belonging, participation and even health in their new home country.
Mexico’s halfway favourable ‘Equality on Paper’ policies encourage the public to see immigrants as equals and potential citizens, but also to see them as strangers. Internationally, the ‘Top Ten’ MIPEX countries treat immigrants as equals, neighbours and potential citizens, and invest in integration as a two-way process for society.
Compared to the other MIPEX countries, Mexico’s integration policies are most similar to Chile’s. Interestingly, public attitudes are much more positive towards immigrants under the more inclusive policies in the other higher-scoring MIPEX countries in the Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the US).
- Labour market mobility: Halfway favourable: Labour market participation and employment issues emerge for immigrants in Mexico. Immigrants benefit from little general and no targeted support, while those on temporary work permits do not enjoy full and immediate access to the labour market.
- Family reunification: Slightly favourable: Immigrants face few legal but several administrative obstacles to reunite and settle with their family, with many vague grounds for rejection and no right to autonomous residence.
- Education: Slightly unfavourable: One of Mexico’s weaknesses, the Mexican education system does not offer support to schools to function as a motor for the integration of immigrant pupils, without targeted measures for immigrant pupils, intercultural education or support to access higher education or intercultural curriculum.
- Health: Halfway favourable: Immigrants face additional administrative burdens and limited support that undermine their access to health services.
- Political participation: Slightly unfavourable: While immigrant organisations are funded and consulted ad-hoc, ordinary immigrants are not able to vote, join political parties or be informed about opportunities to participate. Political participation policies are more developed in most MIPEX countries, including those in the Americas.
- Permanent residence: Favourable: Ranking #5, immigrants with basic economic resources can become permanent residents after four years and enjoy a relatively secure status and equal rights with national citizens.
- Access to nationality: Slightly unfavourable: While their Mexican-born children automatically become citizens, their foreign-born parents face discretionary language, integration and dual nationality requirements. The path to naturalisation is more complicated in Mexico than in most MIPEX countries, including those in the Americas.
- Anti-discrimination: Slightly favourable: With protections weaker than most countries in the Americas or the European Union potential victims in Mexico are explicitly protected and supported in cases of racial/ethnic, religious but not nationality discrimination and immigrants are not specifically targeted by the existing awareness and positive action measures against discrimination.