Who are the Child Protection Officers (OPIS)?
By National Institute of Migration staff
Child Protection Officers (OPIS) are federal migration agents whose main task is to ensure respect for the human rights of children and adolescent migrants, especially those who travel unaccompanied.
Currently, the National Institute of Migration (INM) has 543 OPIS in its 32 federal offices, selected according to a profile developed by the National System for Integral Family Development (DIF). They receive ongoing specialized training.
General objective of the OPIS
The OPIS’ duty is to detect and deal personally with the needs of foreign and Mexican migrant children in the process of securing and protecting them at the migration points.
They also assist Mexican children repatriated from the United States of America.
Their main functions are to safeguard the physical and mental integrity of children; to give them immediate basic health services, food, clothing, and rest; to provide them contact with their families through free phone calls; to keep them informed about their immigration status, using friendly, age-appropriate language; and to accompany them during their repatriation process.
The OPIS receive ongoing, specialized, and comprehensive training provided by DIF, IOM, COMAR, UNICEF, UNHCR, ICJ, Institute for Women and CONAPRED on human rights; emotional literacy; tips for communicating effectively with children and adolescent migrants; international protection (OAR) against, crisis, violence, mistreatment, and abuse; trafficking and human trafficking; gender equality; the principle of family unity, social protection, and assistance; access to justice and migration process; and non-discrimination.
Since 2009, in coordination with UNHCR, the INM has trained 419 officers from different countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Dominican Republic on how to replicate the OPI model.
During April, May and June 2012, the fifth generation OPIS were trained, comprising 219 applicants.
From April 28 to May 9, 2014, training took place for 58 federal migration applicants for OPIS agents for the seventh generation for several federal offices.
History of OPIS
In 2007 the National Institute of Migration had the idea of creating a model with federal agents specialized in childcare. The program was formalized in 2008, and 78 agents were trained to form the first generation. By 2009, the OPIS group had grown to 179 specialized agents. In 2010 the group was legalized within the legal framework and published in the Official Gazette. In 2011, countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Dominican Republic replicated the Mexican model of OPIS. The OPI model was included in the Migration Act and its regulations in 2012, and in 2013, the OPIS achieved presence in the 32 federal offices in Mexico.
OPIS are trained to protect, assist, and guide children and adolescents who, in their attempt to cross the border, are exposed to great danger and could even lose their lives. Because it cares about the future of Mexico and the world, the INM provides housing, food, medical care, and protection to make it a safe place for children.
Official website of the INM. http://www.inm.gob.mx/index.php/page/OPIS
Brochure without official number issued by the INM.