Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
Migrants who amassed assets in the U.S. have rights to those assets and child custody rights, regardless of whether they leave the U.S. voluntarily or by deportation. Mexico Appleseed and Appleseed want these migrants to preserve these rights and bring assets back to Mexico with them. These assets can open the door to financial security in Mexico and lead to savings and investments – in education, in homes, in cars, and other opportunities requiring a base level of capital – assets they have earned.
If you selected 'other' above, please specify which other barriers to financial inclusion you solution seeks to address:
Threat of loss of assets rightfully owned by the migrant and the migrants child custodial rights.
For which underserved or excluded communities will your solution create access to valuable, affordable, secure and comprehensive financial services?
The migrant community often – moves without benefit of documented identity. This invisibility and lack of documentation precludes many migrants from establishing proper beneficiaries for their property in the U.S. or transferring these assets when they return home.
Deportations from the U.S. total approximately 400,000 per year, and, according the Colegio de la Frontera Norte de México (COLEF); one million of the individuals deported since 2009 are Mexicans. Many migrants are precipitously detained. Others leave when a family member is sick, immigration proceedings are imminent, or economic opportunity dries up.
When they are able to recover their assets they can enter a portal to formal financial services in Mexico as they will have capital for investment or savings.
Could your solution work in other geographies or regions? If so, where?
This solution can work in any country in which migrants face either forced or voluntary return home. The manual must be adapted to the laws for other countries; but it provides the basic template of property and relationships at risk when migrants from any country return home.
If your solution is dramatically successful, how will things be different in 10 years?
Appleseed will have educated the Mexican migrant population currently living in the U.S. and those who are thinking of migrating to the U.S. about how they should protect their assets as they work to achieve their dream of a better life. If they lose all that they have earned, they will also lose hope and opportunities for their families.
Many immigrants' greatest anxieties at the prospect of deportation are the fates of their family and home. It never occurs to them that the law would allow these important assets and relationships to survive that process. However, U.S. courts have held repeatedly that deportation is only a remedial measure, not a punishment.
What will have had to have changed to make this happen?
Mexico Appleseed will have executed a successful information campaign so that migrants and their families do everything they can to protect assets amassed in the U.S. and to retain child custody rights.
Mexico will have brought this information to immigrants in time so they can make the preparations needed to protect their children and life's work, and more fundamentally , they can live their lives before and after deportation or voluntary departure with the confidence that being sent home will not mean losing everything.
These things will change:
• This deportation advice will be widely available in Mexico in Spanish;
• Extensive public education and media will cover these rights;
• Migrants and their families will have protected their assets.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Appleseed distributed the original manual to around 300 law clinics, academics, health care and social work providers, foreign embassies and consulates and members of the religious community. Attorneys helped distribute it to 11,000 immigration lawyers, Mexican consular officials, accredited representatives of non-profit charitable agencies approved to help low income foreign nationals, MALDEF and Spanish-speaking media.
Appleseed then conducted interviews with 25 NGOs that have used our materials. The responses were overwhelmingly positive.
Paul Parsons, nationally known immigration lawyer, said: “Thanks to Appleseed for compiling this guide ... Appleseed's manual should be widely distributed because it is so useful.”
The English and Spanish versions are posted to the Mexico Appleseed and Appleseed websites.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
Mexico Appleseed projects a significant impact on Mexican migrants who will learn that they own their hard-earned assets, even when returning home, and that steps can be taken to protect these assets. For example, a migrant returning home, leaving adult children in the U.S., can pass property on to them. Or, a migrant returned not through his own choice can designate another individual to take legal action to protect his property. Migrants will clear their bank accounts before leaving. And they will know what their rights are with regard to children remaining in the U.S. or returning with them.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
This material is complicated and may be difficult for many migrants to understand. In some cases, migrants may fear legal authorities and may resist taking the precautions recommended.
To change a culture is always a barrier itself and we want to change the culture of risking loss of assets to a culture of taking technical – in many cases challenging - steps to protect assets.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
MX Appleseed will disseminate material about protecting assets in partnership with the Mexican government and NGOs.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Mexican migrants will know how to protect their assets and will aggressively take action to do so.