chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.


Mexico’s Immigration Law and the Most Relevant Points of 2023

Jesus Enrique Rios and Maru Flores Michel


  • The Ministry of the Interior in Mexico has implemented special programs to emphasize placing and reuniting families and upholding human rights standards for immigrants. 
  • Changes ensure all foreigners in Mexico have legal authorization to stay in the country, and grants foreigners authorization to engage in activities permitted to residents.
  • Mexico faces challenges due to the large influx of Central American immigrants, surpassing the country's capacity to regularize their stay.  
  • Support programs have been established for Children, Regional Visitors, Women and Refugees.
Mexico’s Immigration Law and the Most Relevant Points of 2023
Sergio Mendoza Hochmann via Getty Images

There have been no major changes to the current law which was issued in November 2012, but rather the Ministry of the Interior has created special programs to guarantee the legal stay of immigrants entering the country. It is important to highlight that the mission of the current administration is to guarantee the protection and respect for the human rights and security of national and foreign nationals.

The focus of the National Immigration Institute in 2023 has been:

  1. Family reunification and human rights
  2. That all foreigners in Mexico have a legal stay in the country.
  3. That foreigners have the authorization to carry out the activities authorized to them.

It is important to mention that this year the large influx of Central American immigrants has exceeded the capacity of the Mexican authorities to regularize their stay in the country, which has caused a serious social problem that directly affects Mexican society, since the country does not have the economic capability to cover the expenses related to the large number of immigrants that enter the country on a daily basis. This problem has a direct impact on the country's northern border, since the immigrants' objective is to settle down in the United States.

Immigrant Support Programs (2)

Child Protection and Attention to Vulnerable Groups Officers

Program of special attention to children, migrant women, people with disabilities and elderly people.

Migrant Protection Beta Groups

Dedicated to the protection and defense of the human rights of immigrants, specialized in orientation, rescue and first aid.

Regional Visitor Card (TVR)

Created for citizens of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras who wish to visit the Southern border of Mexico with multiple entries and exits to visit for a maximum of seven (7) days the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Tabasco, Quintana Roo and Yucatan. This card is valid for five (5) years and is free of charge.

Border Worker Visitor Card (TVTF)

Created for citizens of Guatemala and Belize who have an offer to work in Mexico in the Southern border states. Card valid for one (1) year.

Female Immigrant Program

Offers reliable communication and information services to immigrant women and their families, mainly from Central America, in order to reduce the risks of their double vulnerability which is being both women and immigrants.

Mexican Commission of Refugee Aid (Comisión Mexicana de Ayuda a Refugiados COMAR)

Is the government body responsible for receiving, analyzing and deciding on refugee applications. COMAR supports people who cannot return to their country because their life, safety or freedom are in danger. A refugee may move freely within the country and has the same rights as a Mexican person, i.e. to education, work, health, housing, among others. He/she will always have the protection of the Mexican State.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Mexico

Provides integration programs and also seeks to provide a new life opportunity in Mexico for Refugees. It provides complementary protection in order to help refugees achieve their independence and full incorporation into society by building a life in Mexico. With this support, refugees will be able to find a job, have a home, have access to health, education and security in order to settle down and start a new life.


The enactment of the Immigration Law and the Law on Refugees and Complementary Protection, as well as the Constitutional Reform on human rights, reflect the importance that Mexico gives to the migratory phenomenon and the protection of human rights. However, it is clear that although an effort has been made to create different programs to help immigrants, the situation has not been addressed to deal with the latest events related to immigration in Mexico.