"Few issues over the last 35 years have shaped and defined the US relationship with Mexico and, increasingly, much of Central America than migration. Thus, getting migration and the issues that fuel and surround it right is vital to the region’s long-term stability, prosperity, and competitiveness in a fast-changing and unforgiving global economy that increasingly is organizing around regional relationships. This spring, as US immigration legislation takes shape on Capitol Hill, the migration policies and decisions that are rapidly emerging undoubtedly will have a lasting, long-term effect on regional relationships. Until now, however, there have been no systematic conversations about what a collaborative, regional approach to competitiveness, human-capital development, and migration might look like.
The Migration Policy Institute and the Latin American Program/Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center have filled that void by convening a Regional Migration Study Group — co-chaired by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, and former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein and drawing upon the membership of other key former officials, civil-society leaders and policy experts in the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
The Study Group’s primary goal, culminating in the final report being released on May 6, was to develop and promote a longer-term vision of how to build a stronger social and economic foundation for the United States, Mexico, and Central America’s Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) by enhancing the region’s human-capital infrastructure. Building up the region’s human capital — through education and workforce development reforms that gradually develop common standards in key sectors across the region — should create better economic opportunities for the region’s citizens, creating an engine for growth in each country and strengthening regional competitiveness. Over time, success in this regard will mitigate today’s concerns about the scope and “quality” of regional migration while setting the stage for future regional migration to be more of a genuine choice, rather than a necessity.
On May 6 — just days after President Obama sits down with Mexican and Central American leaders to discuss economic growth, citizen security, and migration — the Study Group will issue a final report outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers and civil society in the region. Please join us for an event in Washington where the Co-Chairs will present the Study Group’s principal findings and consider the implications for the future of the region. Copies of the final report will be available at the event. Video of the event will be available on our website on Tuesday, May 7." - MPI, May 6, 2013.