Migration in Chiapas

Migration in Chiapas

Photo from Cuarto Oscuro


For decades and on a daily basis, the state of Chiapas has served as an exit, stopover, return or final destination for hundreds of migrants. Being the southern border of Mexico, Central American emigrants enter and pass through the state in search of a better life in the United States. Many of them are captured there by the Mexican authorities and are forced to return to their countries. Others manage to advance further north. In the end, a small part will manage to cross the border with the United States, facing realities very different from the “American Dream” that brought them to this country.

The migration of people from Chiapas to other states of the Republic or to the United States is a relatively new phenomenon in comparison. Starting in the 1930s and for several decades, the Lacandon Jungle served as an “escape valve” for the social tension created by lack of land. The neoliberal policies promoted since 1982 with the government of Miguel de la Madrid strongly limited the protection policies of the Mexican countryside. Later, the consequences of NAFTA, in force since 1994, and even more so the implementation of its agricultural clause in 2004 (eliminating tariffs on basic grains) weakened food sovereignty in rural areas and left several farm products without a commercial outlet. In a state where the primary sector predominates, this situation began to force thousands of people from Chiapas to abandon their communities and their lands in search of an economic solution.

Internal Migration

It is estimated that approximately one hundred thousand people from Chiapas leave the state to live in another each year. In 2015 Chiapas more than doubled the loss of its indigenous population compared to the previous censuses. The flow from Chiapas is mainly oriented towards Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Baja California, with these three states being the ones that hold 61.8% of the indigenous emigrants from Chiapas.

Sources: INEGI 2015.

Migration to the USA

According to the INEGI census in 2010, 0.5%of Chiapas residents lived in the United States, which represents 27th place at national level. After exponential growth at the beginning of the decade, the figures have been falling largely due to the economic crisis in the US and its immigration policies.

In 2018, the United States government carried out 11,528 deportations of Mexican migrants from Chiapas. It represented an increase of 45% compared to 2017. The state ranked fifth in the general classification in the matter.

Sources: Anuario de Migraciones y Remesas CONAPO 2019

Originally article from SIPAZ at https://www.sipaz.org/facts-about-chiapas-iii/?lang=en#MIGRACIONen

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