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Central AmericaMexico

Lobby work to strengthen the rights of young migrants and returnees

The focus of our Mexican project partner IMUMI is mainly on lobbying. Together with a network of NGOs, IMUMI campaigns for the allocation of protection measures for unaccompanied minors and advocates access to education for children and young people of transnational families.

Lobbying for safe migration: IMUMI demonstrates to draw attention to the death of migrant children (Photo: IMUMI)
Lobbying for safe migration: IMUMI demonstrates to draw attention to the death of migrant children (Photo: IMUMI)

The 17-year-old Pablo flees alone from Guatemala City to the USA. He takes most of the escape route on foot. He wants to get away from his beating father, away from the youth gangs, the so-called "Maras", who are presenting him with the choice. "Either you join or you die!" He flees from a lack of prospects and is driven by the hope for a better future in the USA.

This fictional story of Pablo reflects the living situation of countless children and young people in Central America. At the border between the USA and Mexico there were almost 467,000 arrests of migrants in 2018 - 54,000 of them were unaccompanied minors. But also on the Mexican side, there is a constantly increasing number of arrests: between December 2018 and April 2019 alone, the Mexican police arrested 15,208 minors according to official figures, which represents an increase of 53 percent compared to the previous year. According to statistics from the Instituto Nacional de Migración, 42 percent of those arrested are between eleven and 17 years old. Once arrested, the children and young people are held in reception camps and later deported to their countries of origin. In doing so, Mexican authorities often fail to comply with the legal measures for the protection of children and adolescents and thus violate the human rights of migrants.

Lobbying for safe migration and against human rights violations

These facts and figures describe the starting position for the work of our Mexican project partner IMUMI (Instituto para las Mujeres en Migración). This non-governmental organization is particularly committed to the protection of migrant children and young people. IMUMI focuses on lobbying and advocacy work. The aim is to strengthen the dialogue between NGOs and state institutions so that protective measures for migrating children and young people are guaranteed. However, IMUMI is also committed to the promotion of generally safe migration and the observance of human rights. To this end, the NGO is organized in an international network (Bloqueo latinoamericano), in order to anchor regional interests in the protection of migrant women in international regulations.

Access to education and identity for children and youth of transnational families

Another pillar of IMUMI's work is cooperation with transnational families. Especially due to the increasing number of deportations in the USA, Mexican families voluntarily return to their communities of origin - places where their children born in the USA have never lived. The Mexican authorities only recognize these children and adolescents as Mexican or dual citizens through a complex application procedure. This is an official procedure that costs a lot of money. Money that the returning families often do not have. Here IMUMI provides legal assistance and supports the children and young people in the recognition of Mexican citizenship. On the other hand, the project partner together with a network of NGOs is lobbying for a simplification of this procedure.

In addition, Mexicans born in the USA are often denied entry to school. Although a national agreement to simplify the procedure for school entry was already passed in 2015. However, the implementation of this agreement fails due to a lack of knowledge of this new regulation by local authorities and schools. IMUMI is therefore working to disseminate the national agreement and provide training for government and school staff to enable migrant children and young people to attend school in their home country of Mexico.

Income generating measure for returnees

IMIMUMI closely supports the Mexican organization DUL (Colectivo Deportados Unidos en la Lucha), which was founded in 2016 by young Mexicans who were deported from the USA and now want to help others. In 2017, the NGO created the brand "Deportados Brand 100% mexicano" and prints bags, shirts and other locally traded, plastic-free textiles in its own printing plant. The politically motivated motifs and statements on the subject of migration or deportation are well received in Mexico City and have already found a broad market. The income is used to finance counselling services for deported Mexican migrants and to ensure their social integration. Furthermore, the aim is to employ returnees in the textile printing plant in Mexico City and thus create jobs for Mexicans deported from the USA.


Project Promoting access to education and identity for children and young people from transnational families in Mexico and safe migration at the international level
Place/Region Mexico City and the Central American region
Partner IMUMI (Instituto para las Mujeres en Migración)
Target group Migrating children and adolescents in Mexico on the run to the USA, children and adolescents of transnational families in Mexico
  • Promoting safe migration that ensures respect for human rights
  • Support for family members in securing legal protection in terms of education, identity and protection
  • Provision of protection measures for detained migrant children and young people
  • Strengthening of committees to promote dialogue between governmental and non-governmental organisations
  • Implementation of norms and laws that guarantee the right to education and citizenship of children and
  •  youth of transnational families and migrants
Duration 2019-2024
Budget 50.000 Euro p.a.
Sponsor BMZ

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