Mexico's Latest Illegal-Alien Amnesty

By Mark Krikorian on September 4, 2015

In January of this year Mexico launched an amnesty for illegal aliens.

Called the Temporary Program for Immigration Regularization (the Spanish initials are PTRM), the amnesty is run by the Interior Ministry (Gobernación) through the National Immigration Institute (INM).

Illegal aliens who entered before November 9, 2012, can get a four-year temporary residency after paying a fee of a little more than 9,000 pesos (somewhat over $500). The application period ends December 18 of this year.

At the end of the four-year period, "you may be able to apply for permanent residence" – but it's not clear what the criteria are for being allowed to apply or for being accepted.

This sounds similar to amnesties proposed in the United States. Indeed, Mexico has had amnesties before but, as is the case with the U.S., they did nothing to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants, and may have increased it.

But there are a few key differences. Mexico's amnesty does not include a work permit; among the benefits of the program is the "possibility to obtain a work permit" (emphasis added). It does not seem that approval is guaranteed, unlike Obama's lawless DACA amnesty decree, which provides not only a work permit but also a Social Security number. Rather, this really is just protection from deportation.

Also, Mexico charges much more for this limited amnesty. The fees total about a month's wages for the average Mexican, whereas the $465 cost of DACA is about four days' average wage in the U.S.

For all these reasons, this is expected to be a minuscule program. A wire story suggests that only 30,000 illegal aliens are expected to get the amnesty, less than the number of new approvals for Obama's DACA amnesty just in the first quarter of 2015. (In total, more than 600,000 illegals have received the DACA amnesty so far).

Human rights groups have complained about the cost and the lost list of disqualifications and the lack of a work permit and lack of automatic permanent residency. Earlier this year, about a month into the amnesty, it was reported that most of the amnesty beneficiaries were illegals from Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina. Since most of Mexico's illegals are from Central America, the INM partnered with consuls from those countries to advertise the amnesty more widely.