Mexico is a country that historically has been a country of emigration, immigration and migratory transit. Today it is estimated that almost twelve million people born in Mexico live temporarily or permanently with or without documents in the United States.


According to data from the 2010 National Population and Housing Census, United States nationals represent the largest group of the immigrant population in Mexico with 76.4% of the total in 2010 and with a clear positive trend.

Migrant population by region
Immigrants residing in Mexico by region of birth, 1990, 2000 and 2010

Region of birth1990%2000%2010%
USA198 23058.3358 39969739 91876.4
Central America157 23016.846 523959 9366.2
South America220 0205.930 5795.962 1676.4
Europe45 75013.549 1319.556 9565.9
Another country18 5505.535 0756.749 1705.1
Total339 780100519 707100968 147100
Notes: 1 / Central America includes Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras,    
Nicaragua and Panama. 
   2 / South America concentrates Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. The Guyanas and Suriname are not represented because in the census samples of the three years there was not a single case of people born in Suriname, and in the Guyanas there was only one case in 2010. 
Source: CONAPO estimates based on the INEGI, ten percent samples from the XI General Population and Housing Census, 1990; XII General Population and Housing Census, 2000, and Population and Housing Census, 2010.

Immigrants residing in Mexico by country of birth 1990, 2000 and 2010
(Selected countries)

USA198 23058.3358 39969.0739 91876.4
Guatemala42 38012.529 1565.631 8883.3
Honduras19900.64 2030.89 9801.0
The Savior5 0601.55 7861.18 8640.9
Other countries92 12027122 16323.6177 49718.3
Total339 780100.0519 707100.0968 147100.0
Source: CONAPO estimates based on INEGI, ten percent samples from the XI General Population and 
Housing Census , 1990, XII General Population and Housing Census, 2000, and Population and Housing Census 2010. 
http: // www / es / CONAPO / Poblacion_inmigrante_residente_en_Mexico

The total number of international migrants in Mexico reached 968,147, a figure that represented 0.86% of the total population.

Total immigrants in Mexico as a percentage of the total population

YearNumber of international migrantsInternational migrants as a percentage of the total population
nineteen ninety five467,2190.5
Source: Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, Trends in Total Migrant Stock: The 2005 Revision,, [For 1990 - 2005, consulted on 2- 03-09]. 
For 2010 with data from Conapo.


Based on foreigners housed in immigration stations, the Center for Migration Studies of the Migration Policy Unit, SEGOB, highlights the Honduran, Guatemalan and Salvadoran population with the highest number of foreigners housed, which together corresponds to 94% of the total number of irregular flows.

Events of foreigners housed in immigration stations, by continent, country of nationality and federal entity, January-May 2013

Country of originNumber of foreigners
Costa Rica8
The Savior6 522
Guatemala14 228
Honduras14 944
Total36 064
RegionsNumber of foreigners
Central America36 064
North America391
Caribbean Islands744
South America577
Total38 352
Source: Ministry of the Interior of the United Mexican States, Statistics , Statistical Bulletins , Foreign staying and returned, 2013, 
Note: The information relates to events of migrants admitted to the INM immigration stations under the administrative filing procedure for not proving their immigration status, as provided in arts. 99, 112 and 113 of the Migration Law and art. 222 of its Regulations.


Remittances, that is, money transfers from abroad have constituted an important source of resources for many receiving families, mainly for their consumption and maintenance.

According to the latest record, in 2013 remittances totaled $ 21.596 billion, that is, 3.75% less than the previous year and 20% less than the level reached in 2007.

Own elaboration
Source: Own elaboration with data from Banxico


Current figures estimate that around 11.7 million Mexicans reside in the United States. 1 This historical process has been accompanied by some waves of massive deportations of Mexican migrants from the United States, mainly due to the forced return of hundreds of thousands of Mexican migrants who are detained annually by the US immigration authority.

    1 Second Report on International Migration in the Americas (SICREMI 2012), Mexico, La emigración, p. 168, Source: CONAPO, 2012.


Foreigners documented as refugees, by country of nationality, 2007-2011 *

Country of nationality20082009201020112012Total
The Savior1fifteen618565227
Total42. 386150171436
5 Asylum seekers in January 2010 were 680.
Asylum seekers in 2012 were 294. 6 Ministry of the Interior, Historical Series, Foreigners documented as refugees by the INM: By continent and country of nationality, 2002-2011, http : //


According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Mexico is a country of origin, transit and destination for human trafficking for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. 1

The legal basis to eradicate the crime of trafficking in persons in Mexico is the General Law to prevent, punish and eradicate crimes in the matter of Trafficking in Persons and for the protection and assistance to the victims of these crimes of June 14, 2012. On April 14, 2010, the government of Mexico launched the Blue Heart Campaign proposed by UNODC. The objective is to give visibility to the problem through dissemination and awareness actions. To date, more than 60 substantive activities have been carried out and more than 18,000 people have been trained in the DF and various states of the country.

Mexico is classified as a level 2 country, that is, it is one of those countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards regarding crimes of trafficking in persons but which make considerable efforts to comply with them. 2

In November 2007, in compliance with the international obligations acquired, the Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons came into force. During that same year, the criminal type of human trafficking was established in the Federal Penal Code. Likewise, in February 2009 the Regulation of the Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons was published.

In compliance with the Law, the Intersecretarial Commission to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking was established, made up of nine Executive Secretaries and the Attorney General’s Office. Likewise, the National System for the Integral Development of the Family, the National Institute of Women, the National Institute of Migration, the National Institute of Criminal Sciences, the National Population Council, the Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples and the Mexican Commission for Aid to Refugees. The Law also provides for the participation as guests of representatives of the legislative power, civil society organizations, autonomous public bodies and academia.

It highlights the power granted to the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes of Violence against Women and Human Trafficking of the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic in 2008, to investigate and prosecute the crimes provided for in the Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

On February 11, 2010, the Special Commission to Combat Human Trafficking was installed in the Chamber of Deputies.

1 National Human Rights Commission Mexico, Human Trafficking, 2012, p. 7. Source: Report Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns, United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention.Available at: documents / human-trafficking / HT-globalpatterns-en.pdf . (November 2011) 2 US Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2012 , Introductory Material, tiprpt / 2012 / index.htm



Mexico ratified

  • United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Convention) and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol) in 2003.

Mexico has not ratified:

  • The International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families of 1990
  • The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol
  • The 2000 United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons
  • The 2002 Protocol against the Trafficking of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air


Mexico is a signatory of:

  • ILO Convention 100 on equal pay
  • ILO Convention 111 on discrimination in occupation and employment


Mexico has not ratified:

  • ILO Convention 97 on Migrant Workers
  • ILO Convention 143 on Migrant Workers


Other relevant conventions and treaties ratified by Mexico can be found on the website of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights .