Increasing Opportunities to Address Migration in North America

Carlos Heredia, Profesor Asociado de la División de Estudios Internacionales del CIDE, y Andrew Selee escribieron el documento de trabajo Increasing Opportunities to Address Migration in North America.



The North American agenda, to the extent it still exists, has never had a common idea around mobility and migration. There is one small exception: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) visas, a part of the original agreement that remained in the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), which allow for a degree of mobility among certain groups of professionals. This visa category has passed almost unnoticed among scholars, but it actually has generated a degree of short- and even long-term mobility among professionals. However, other
discussions on migration have been far too sensitive for the three countries to discuss together. This was true at the outset, during the first NAFTA negotiations in the early 1990s, and the issue was even more contentious during the USMCA negotiations under the Trump administration.

But interestingly enough, the three partners are actually becoming more similar in their migration profiles than could have been imagined 30 years ago. It is probably a bridge too far to think of common or even coordinated migration policies any time soon, but there may be discrete areas of migration cooperation that could grow over the next few years. So far, North America has experienced an increasing structural convergence in migration with significant policy divergence. The question is whether the structural convergence could, at some point, lead to greater policy convergence and even coherence among the three countries.


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