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Mexico: Chamber of Deputies Legislates to Regulate Political Asylum

(Oct. 23, 2014) The Mexican Chamber of Deputies has passed legal reforms to regulate the country’s handling of political asylum. The draft legislation, which was approved with 362 votes in favor, none against, and one abstention, changes the name of the Law on Refugees and Complementary Protection to the Law on Refugees, Complementary Protection, and Political Asylum. (Diputados de México Aprueban Reformas para Regular el Asilo Político, EL MUNDO (Sept. 25, 2014); Ley sobre Refugiados y Protección Complementaria, DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA FEDERACION (DOF) (Jan. 27, 2011). The new legislation has not yet been promulgated.)

The draft legislation reforms and adds to provisions that regulate the institution of political asylum, and also amends a provision in Mexico’s Immigration Law regarding political asylum. (Diputados de México Aprueban Reformas para Regular el Asilo Político, supra; Ley de Migración, DOF (May 25, 2011).)

According to a Chamber of Deputies statement, the draft legislation is intended to “fill existing gaps in the secondary legislation on matters of political asylum.” The statement explains that political asylum is the protection that the Mexican government grants to a foreigner who is persecuted due to offenses of a political character or due to ordinary offenses that are connected to political causes and whose life, liberty, or security is at risk. (Diputados de México Aprueban Reformas para Regular el Asilo Político, supra.)

The draft legislation states that the Secretariat of Foreign Relations will send notice of its decisions on political asylum applications to the Secretariat of Interior, and the latter will issue migratory documents in accordance with the provisions of the Immigration Law. (Id.)

The draft further provides that two Secretariats will jointly promote and coordinate public actions, strategies, and protection-oriented programs and assistance for refugees. (Victor Chávez, Diputados Aprueban Reformas para Tramitar el Asilo Político, EL FINANCIERO (Sept. 25, 2014).)

The revised statute will have a seventh title entitled “Political Asylum,” with six chapters covering general principles governing asylum and the procedures for granting political asylum, for withdrawal and renunciation of political asylum, and for permitting stay in the country with political asylum and the care offered by institutions. (Id.)

The original draft legislation was sent by the Executive Branch to the Senate in October 2012. The draft legislation will be sent to the Executive for promulgation. (Id.)