MEXICO: Further Restructuring of the National Migration Institute and Possible Bureaucratic Delays

June 19, 2019

On 14 June 2019, the Commissioner of the National Institute of Migration (INM), Tonatiuh Guillén, resigned and that same day Francisco Garduño was appointed as his successor. The Commissioner is the highest authority of the INM and is appointed directly by the President of Mexico.

The transition occurs within the framework of negotiations that the Government of Mexico has undertaken to avoid a progressive imposition of tariffs announced by the U.S. President Donald Trump, which had been scheduled to begin on 10 June and which were suspended as a result of the negotiations.

As a result, Mexico has committed to limit migratory flows across its borders, this being the initial justification for unilateral tariff imposition.

The National Institute of Migration is a department of the Ministry of the Interior, and the absence of its representatives was noteworthy during the aforementioned negotiations, despite the fact that the implementation and execution of the migratory policy falls directly within its remit.

It is expected that the current Government of Mexico will modify its migration strategy from an approach that was strongly oriented to the regularization of migrants and the processing of asylum applications, towards a policy of containment of irregular migration, to avoid economic repercussions with the United States.

In addition, the Internal Regulation of the Ministry of the Interior was published on 31 May in the Official Gazette, which came into force the day after its publication and establishes the remit and structure of the Ministry and its departments.

In this regard, it is worth highlighting the reduction of four Government Sub-Secretariats and two auxiliary administrative units to the tasks of the INM Commissioner. These measures are consistent with the austerity program implemented by President Andres Manuel López Obrador with the objective of generating savings to the public expense.

Analysis and Impact to the Corporate Sector

Recently, the processing of applications at the INM has been significantly delayed as a direct consequence of the prioritization of irregular migratory flows, and staff reduction and changes (see our previous blog post).

It is too early to know the direction that the immigration regime will take in Mexico. However, the situation that has led to delays in the past continues, and the staffing changes extend to the various Representation offices (formerly known as Delegations) of the INM throughout the country, including the office in Mexico City, where the officers have also changed in recent weeks.

Considering the direct responsibility that the new government officials have on the operation and technical direction, qualifying criteria and processing efficiency will most likely continue to be affected in the medium term.

For this reason, we recommend foreign companies and employees plan for potential delays and work in coordination with their immigration advisor to mitigate any negative impact.

Our Advice

Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to Mexico, please email us at [email protected].