Mexico's Refugee Law of 2011 has been praised as exceptionally progressive. A core aspect of the new law is the inclusion of an expanded refugee definition derived from the Cartagena Declaration. Nonetheless, it has also been pointed out that implementation gaps persist between Mexico's laws and policy practice. In this paper, we analyse in how far Mexico has applied the Cartagena definition to allegeable asylum seekers. Based on the analysis of a representative sample of 565 Refugee Status Determination (RSD) resolutions, we identify patterns in the country's RSD procedure from 2011 to 2016. On the one hand, we find a 98 per cent recognition rate, under the Cartagena refugee definition, for Venezuelan asylum seekers; on the other hand, a lack of application of the Cartagena definition to Central Americans. We discuss how our findings relate to broader problems associated with the RSD procedure in Latin America, and provide policy recommendations.
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The authors wish to thank Andrea Kvietok and Fernanda Lobo for their excellent research assistance and the participants of the panel ?The Crisis of Refugee Protection in Latin America: Time for New Approaches?? of the 4th Annual Conference of the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI) for their helpful comments and suggestions.
© 2021 The Authors. International Migration © 2021 IOM