Economic policy mustn’t depend on migrant workers

Out of a recent conference in Mexico co-sponsored by York’s Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) has come a declaration urging governments to find work opportunities for labourers at home so they don’t need to migrate to other countries to earn a living.

The Cuernavaca Declaration questions the “development agenda set out by migrant-exporting governments [that] identifies migrants and their remittances as strategic resources that can or should solve the economic and social woes of their nations.” It was signed by participants at a conference on Problems and Challenges of Migration and Development in the Americas, held in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

At the conference, academics, experts, government functionaries and migrant organization leaders discussed the impact of international migration on labour-sending and -receiving countries in North America. CERLAC Fellows and York University faculty members Luin Goldring, Alan Simmons and Judith Adler Hellman participated in the conference.

The declaration includes a strong critique of neoliberal economic policy and a reminder to respect and protect migrant rights. It notes that “international migration has been silently incorporated into government strategies, generating an economic model that distorts the concept of development, basing it on the export of workers and capture of remittances.” It recommends a “model that can reduce growing North-South asymmetries and address the root causes of migration, so that people have more options available within their home country, including the option not to emigrate.”

The conference was sponsored by CERLAC, the International Migration and Development Network, and the Regional Centre for Multidisciplinary Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

CERLAC has published the Cuernavaca Declaration in English. The Declaration is also available in Spanish. For more information, please contact Luin Goldring at, at or at 416-736-5237.