OPINION: The need for constitutional reform on article 33 (immigrants’ rights)

In February 2017, the State Commission of Human Rights (CODHEY) recognized the research titled “The causes of deportation and expulsion of aliens in México during the twenty first century”, which aims to protect foreigners who reside in México.

The article was featured by Lawyer and Collaborator of The Yucatán Times, Raúl Alexander Palomo Moreno, as part of the best thesis contest in the state of Yucatán.

In recent years Mexico set to work on legislating and protecting the human rights of all Mexican and foreign inhabitants, therefore the Constitution was reformed on June 10, 2011, modifying different regulations regarding those rights as well as the legal term of expulsion contained in the famous article 33.

The legislators also established the deadline to issue the respective regulatory law, but the new regulation on this matter hadn’t been published by the National Congress so far.

After several years, without issuing any law on this matter and being an issue of national interest, a research related to expel aliens was born aimed at finding the mechanisms to eliminate the arbitrary power of the Mexican State on its right of expulsion and all aliens to be granted with security and legal certainty into the national territory.

INM Detention Center (Google)


The research seeks to answer these questions:

  • Could the synonymy problem between deportation and expulsion be solved by redefining the causes to proceed in each one?
  • Is it necessary to establish the conceptual difference between deportation and expulsion, especially in the current legal system?
  • Is it useful to demonstrate, whether or not there are reasonable grounds for expulsion in the national legislation, and why it would be useful to redefine or delimit new causes in order to clarify what procedure to apply for?
  • Is it necessary to regulate valid reasons regarding the expulsion, avoiding to make an exhaustive and concrete list of acts, omissions and conditions, and besides, the legislator should only establish the causes and define their limits in order to avoid inefficiency in the new legislation.

Thus, after a comprehensive study of international law, doctrine and jurisprudence, along with Mexican law on the subject of deportation and expulsion of aliens, the results below were achived:

  • Elimination of the third paragraph of article 33, regarding the non-interference of foreigners on political affairs in México, according to the following statement: “Aliens have certain political rights as citizens and should not discriminate only for not being Nationals”.

It should be noted that Mexico, based on its national sovereignty and protection of society, has to reserve certain political rights for its nationals such as “being voted on”.

  • Addition and modification to the future regulatory law on the article 33, defining the causes to operate this constitutional figure and establish its scope to begin its procedure.

It is worth mentioning that at the international level, the national security and public order are the most accepted reasons to apply this legal term, so that the future law should be established and defined as a guide of how judge have to proceed (without an exhaustive list of reasons).

  • Elimination of fraction IV of article 144 of the Migration Law. The legislator make a mistake establishing on this law subjects related to national security and public order, as this article only refers to immigration issues.

On conclusion, nowadays the article 33 is used to expelling aliens for political issues, but it was proven that the new law should establish reasonable grounds related to national security and public order, redefining the current causes of deportation and expulsion in Mexico.

Finally, the practical utility will be for the authority since they will know how to apply the correct procedure, because today the two terms are applicable for the similar reasons, but feature different procedures, different authorities, and different sanctions.

Additionally, foreigners will gain greater security and legal certainty as national security and public order will be protected, and these proposals will oblige the public officials to comply with respect for the aliens’ human rights, and at the same time México will fulfill its international duty, which today it is susceptible to claim.



Raúl Palomo has a law degree from the State’s University of Yucatán. He is currently an Editor for The Yucatan Times, Chinese Teacher, and Chinese culture specialist with studies at Sut-Yan-Sen University and Guizhou University.





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