S.I. 6 – Natural Resources


Migration is a strong phenomenon: Guerrero has the highest level of internal migration and is fifth in terms of international migration. According to the Mexican General Consulate, 11.5% of all the Mexicans in the United States are from Guerrero. 107,724 people migrated in the last 5 years, 43,111 of them to the U.S. (mostly men; women usually migrate more within the country).

Source: INEGI 2010

There are two types of migration: agricultural migrant workers who leave their homes during the dry season and long-term migration to the United States.

Seasonal migration during the dry season:
  • More than 40,000 laborers leave each year to go to states in northern Mexico such as Sonora, Baja California, and Sinaloa in search of work.
  • Other workers leave for the United States, primarily the states of Oregon, California, Arizona, Mississippi, Illinois, Florida, New York, Virginia and North Carolina.
Long-term migration: between one-fourth and one-third of the population of Guerrero actually lives in the United States:
  • At least one million Guerrerenses reside in the United States, including both the nationalized and the undocumented.
  • There are close to 300,000 people from Guerrero in Chicago, making it second only to Acapulco in number of Guerrerenses.

Source: INI, INEGI 2010

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Migrant labor: modern form of slavery?

In the face of widespread poverty and the inability of the most marginalized families to subsist on their own land, the only solution for many is to work as agricultural day laborers. There is a large population of unemployed agricultural workers, unorganized and vulnerable, willing to work however they can. This population includes children. Many do not know how to read or write, making them the most vulnerable and primary victims of exploitation by plantation owners.

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Crossing the border: risks

  • Every day, 50 to 60 Guerrerenses attempt to cross the border into the United States. ( Source: Héctor Barenca Martínez, General Director of the Department of Social Development, Attention to Guerrerenses in Other Countries)
  • With the 1994 signing of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and the implementation of “Operation Guardian” in 1995 (in which a wall was built covering 50 km of the US-Mexico border), the risks of migrating have increased, reflected in the growing number of migrants who die in their attempts to cross.

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Trafficking of the undocumented: a flourishing international industry

Local “coyotes” (traffickers) charge around $2,000 US for taking a person across the border (this does not include the costs of travel to the border), forcing many to enter into debt in order to finance their migration. Trafficking generates networks of corruption with local authorities in addition to the networks of organized crime and mafias.