By Graham Warwick and Pedro Gomez, CNN Mexico City, May 22, 2017
Mexico wants to fix its migration system and make it easier for people living in the country illegally to apply for status. It hopes to help ease the pressure on the US border
The country, which has often been criticized for its handling of migrants, is planning changes that will make it easier for undocumented migrants to get legal status. The changes will also make it easier for asylum seekers.
The plan, in a document issued May 19 and obtained by CNN , outlines plans to apply the changes to people who have travelled to Mexico from other countries in Latin America, and to permanent residents and students in Mexico.
The changes will become law 90 days after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador signs them into law.
The changes will come into effect in stages, as Mexico’s migration system allows it to implement them without a major impact on the population. The date may be extended by a few weeks if necessary, the document reads.
Migrant families overwhelmed by police, food and shelters
For years, Mexico has struggled to effectively deal with the migration from Central America into the country, a crisis that has changed its political landscape and strained its social and economic fabric.
The border regions near the Guatemalan, Honduran and Salvadoran borders have been the most affected. They are described as sinking in a sea of poverty and violence in these impoverished nations.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Rodolfo Rios Montt called for 5 million more people to cross into Mexico, to alleviate the pressure at the borders. But he also said it was illegal for Mexico to send them back.
Cartels prey on migrants, activists say
Immigration in the US has become one of the most contentious issues of Donald Trump’s presidency. The US President has demanded a border wall and harsher limits on Mexican citizens working in the US illegally.
Migrant advocacy groups say the President’s plans threaten their safety.
The Mexican proposals include: