Linking Development & Migration: A Binational U.S.-Mexico Dialogue

David R. Ayón
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Debate over immigration policy in the United States has centered on law enforcement and related legal reforms. Two other factors, however, are key elements of a broader discussion, especially in international forums.

First, migration is seen today as fundamentally related to economic development in an international context. Second, migrant leaders and organizations themselves have won recognition as participants in policy deliberations, alongside experts and representatives of governments and multilateral institutions.

This report is based on a binational dialogue that examined migration within a wide-ranging discussion of development. As such, it provides an introduction to what much of the world — including migrant leaders and organizations themselves — considers fundamental to understanding and constructively responding to migration. These Mexico City discussions included the relationship of migration to the following:

• Mexican agricultural policy and rural job creation

• Banking migrant remittances for local development

• Relating education to employment and development in Mexico

• Migrant organizations’ participation in setting policy priorities

• Connecting U.S. foreign aid and the causes of migration

The diverse participants convened by the Mexico Institute discussed the challenge of bringing such considerations together in an integrated approach to development and migration. This was seen as requiring new forms of inter-departmental and binational coordination along with the institutionalized participation of civil society — including migrant organizations — on both sides of the border.

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