New Report for Legal Advocates Explains how to Safely and Effectively Transfer Funds to Clients in Mexico

Document details key considerations relating to money transfers to Mexico, including transfer options, relevant ethical and legal considerations, identification requirements, and more

CONTACT: Sara Aguiniga, Immigrant Justice Clinic, 202-274-4147 (office) or 410-206-5276 (cell)


WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2012– American University Washington College of Law is announcing the release of a report titled Money Transfers to Mexico: The Transfer of Funds from U.S. Advocates to Clients in Mexico, a comprehensive overview of the practical, legal, and ethical aspects of sending client funds to Mexico.  The report is a collaborative effort of American University Washington College of Law’s Immigrant Justice Clinic, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, and Global Workers Justice Alliance.

Annually, thousands of migrant workers leave Mexico to pursue employment opportunities in the United States. Unfortunately, when in the U.S., many of these migrant workers experience wage theft, employment discrimination, and other violations of their workplace rights.  With effective legal representation, they are often able to receive compensation.  Sometimes, however, these workers return to Mexico before their cases are resolved and money is recovered.  This report discusses the various ways of sending client funds overseas, which include wire transfers, sending checks, international money orders, pre-paid credit cards, and more.  Additionally, the report explores how a client can procure different forms of identification in Mexico and open up a Mexican bank account.

The report also examines the ethical obligations that attorneys must respect when they transfer client funds to Mexico. Additionally, the USA PATRIOT Act and Dodd-Frank Act can also create complications when sending money to Mexico; these laws are also discussed, with recommendations on how to comply with them. 

“As advocates, we face the challenge of providing zealous representation to our clients while conforming to ethical rules and federal laws,” says Cynthia Rice, a migrant worker advocate.  “The manual explains the most effective ways to send money to clients who have relocated to Mexico while adhering to rules of professional conduct and different federal laws.”

According to Sara Aguiniga, a student attorney with the Immigrant Justice Clinic, the report is an excellent resource that describes different approaches advocates can take when they encounter obstacles relating to money transfers to Mexico.  Among the many suggestions in the report are the following:

  • Ensure that the client obtains an official Mexican identification document.
  • Determine which remittance company is most appropriate for the client depending on the client’s needs.
  • Consult the state’s rules of professional conduct to ensure that there are no additional barriers that will prevent sending money to Mexico.
  • Revise client representation agreements to obtain consent to keep funds in a bank account outside of the state, if necessary.

For more information, please contact: Sara Aguiniga, student attorney with the Immigrant Justice Clinic at American University Washington College of Law, 410-206-5276.  For more information about American University Washington College of Law, please contact Franki Fitterer, director of public relations, 202-275-4279 (office), 202-321-6183 (cell).

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American University Washington College of Law Immigrant Justice Clinic

The Immigrant Justice Clinic (IJC) is one of eleven law clinics within the Clinical Program at American University Washington College of Law. The Clinical Program is designed to give law students the opportunity to represent real clients with real legal problems. The Student Attorneys take on the responsibility of handling litigation, negotiation, and addressing pressing legal issues with institutional clients in order to learn practical lawyering skills. Student Attorneys in the IJC work in teams under the supervision of a full-time faculty member. The IJC provides representation on a broad range of cases and projects involving individual immigrants and migrants, and their communities, both in the D.C. metropolitan area and overseas. Students Attorneys in the IJC regularly appear in Immigration Court, and may also appear before federal district court, the courts of Maryland and D.C., and before federal and state agencies. Since migration has a transnational dimension, the IJC occasionally advocates before regional and international bodies.  For more information, visit

Centro de Derechos de los Migrantes

Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. is a transnational migrant workers’ rights organization. With offices in Baltimore, Maryland, Mexico City, and Juxtlahuaca, Oaxaca, CDM is dedicated to improving the recruitment and working conditions of low-wage, high-risk workers along the migrant stream. Through outreach, education and leadership development in homecommunities where workers feel comfortable speaking about workplaceconditions in the U.S., by connecting workers to advocates and providing supportfor those advocates’ efforts, and through policy advocacy, CDM works to removethe border as a barrier to justice.

Global Workers Justice Alliance

Global Workers Justice Alliance (“Global Workers”) specializes in the legal and practical challenges of representing low-wage migrant workers who leave the United States after suffering labor exploitation. Our goal is to assist U.S. advocates so they can efficiently and effectively represent these clients,even though they are no longer in the United States. We accomplish this primarily through the Global Workers Defenders Network, which currently operates in 11 states in Mexico and 6 departments (departamentos) in Guatemala.These on-the ground partners provide various services such as locating clients, executing affidavits or other documents, or assisting with settlement distribution. For workers from other countries we provide case-by-case advice and referral. Through consultations, trainings, and practice manuals, we also provide U.S. advocates advice on a broad array of issues related to transnational litigation. For more information please go to