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Past Policy 2020 Event

Maras, migrants, and Mexico: Policy issues for the next US administration

Past Event

In much of its engagement with Mexico and Central America, the Trump administration has focused on stopping the flow of migrants from the region to the United States, whether by building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, insisting that Mexico halt the flow of Central American migrants, or embracing leaders who assist in efforts to stem migration. Likewise, the Trump administration has identified Central American criminal gangs known as maras as a principal threat to U.S. public safety. Beyond migrants, the administration’s relationship with Mexico has centered on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through the updated United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and countering the flow of opioids from Mexico to the United States. Beyond USMCA, violence levels in Mexico and parts of Central America remain high. And the economic effects of COVID-19 have devastated the region, undermining already limited government capacity, strengthening gangs and criminal groups at times, and leaving vast segments of populations vulnerable to pressures and influence from criminal groups or incentivized to migrate.

On October 5, the Foreign Policy program at Brookings held a panel discussion to explore how the next administration should deal with these policy issues and what other issues, such as clean energy and economic recovery, should be on the agenda for relations with Mexico and Central America. The panel featured Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow and former Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhan, Associate Professor and Chair of Global Studies at The New School Alexandra Délano Alonso, InSight Crime Co-Director Steven Dudley, and Brooking​s Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown. Felbab-Brown also moderated the discussion. Upon the conclusion of their remarks, panelists took questions from the audience.

Viewers submitted questions via email to events@brookings.edu or via Twitter at #Policy2020.

Policy 2020 events aim to empower voters with fact-based, data-driven, non-partisan information so they can better understand the policy matters discussed in the 2020 election.

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