Migration policies can be the origin of multiple violations and inequalities and deepen the exclusion of migrant persons – or they can promote and protect migrants’ rights. This is why it is critical that these policies be reviewed, as UN member states agreed to do upon negotiating a Global Compact for migration: “We will consider reviewing our migration policies with a view to examining their possible unintended negative consequences” (New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, September 19, 2016, para. 45).
Given that migratory procedures and mechanisms determine the institutional and social treatment of migrants, we propose that four aspects be re-thought: migratory regularization; procedures for expulsion or deportation cases; use of detention for migration reasons as the main source of criminalization of migration; and measures to ensure access to justice for migrants who were victims of crimes or human rights violations.
The proposals in this document are rooted in our experience in Latin America. We work both on identifying the institutional obstacles that can hinder access to migrants’ rights, as well as on developing concrete proposals to remove these obstacles and incorporate international human rights standards into our countries’ migratory policies. Beyond the debates that organizations such as ours may have with government officials over implementation and modification of these policies, our experiences show that far from being principles alone, these standards can inform, guide and define concrete migratory policy mechanisms. To that end, we suggest guiding principles, lines of action, objectives and specific measures that the Global Compact should include.