Discover more from Americas Migration Brief
Americas Migration Brief - April 24, 2023
Welcome to the Americas Migration Brief! If you find this newsletter useful, please consider sharing with a friend or colleague.
Se puede acceder aquí a una versión en español del boletín traducida por inteligencia artificial.
Consulte aqui uma versão em português do boletim traduzida por inteligência artificial.
Thanks for reading Americas Migration Brief! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Table of Contents
Integration and Development
A new IDB and UNDP report explores how to address xenophobia through a series of experiments in Barbados, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago; finding that emotional and, particularly, informational videos generally improved viewers’ attitudes towards immigrants, although Chile and Trinidad and Tobago stood out as exceptions, with little impact from the videos. At the launch event, co-author Marcela Meléndez noted that the videos had the greatest impact on those that were younger, less educated, poorer, or more ideologically right-wing.
“When it comes to Global North-led narratives of migration, Latin America is primarily viewed as a region that refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants come from and travel through en route to the United States, not as a place where forcibly displaced people seek safety and live out their lives… From my personal experience, it seems like there is an assumption that it should be easy for Latin American refugees to integrate into other countries in the region because we share a language and cultural similarities,” writes an anonymous Colombian refugee living in Ecuador at The New Humanitarian. The piece highlights the challenges of integration in the region.
A new report at R4V explores the situation of women, children, and LGBT Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Manabí, Ecuador. Findings include a “grave situation of structural violence,” discriminatory rhetoric and practices against women and LGBT Venezuelans, and generalized insecurity.
CEEP, the Peruvian military’s think tank, writes, “The migration of Venezuelan citizens does not constitute a concern for national security, nor is it presented as an unfavorable situation that hinders national development.”
A new PAHO study on Venezuelans in Lima “shows how a national priority framework (reducing maternal mortality), accompanied by operational mechanisms for social protection (such as the Comprehensive Health Insurance program), represent complementary instruments that have a positive impact on and extend benefits to migrants, even though this population was not considered when designing these policies.”
Highlighting the case of a pair of Venezuelan bakers in Peru, the UN writes, “Today Amasando Sueños is working with IOM to train a new generation of entrepreneurs, teaching pastry making to a group of 25 other local refugees and migrants. Following the success of this initial training initiative, IOM, UNICEF and UNHCR joined forces to support the foundation of the Asociación de Emprendedores Unidos Venezuela-Perú (ASEMU); an association which helps refugees and migrants integrate into the labour market and offers survivors of gender-based violence a critical tool for recovery as well as economic and emotional support.”
“Currently, Mexican legislation establishes that in order to register a girl or boy born in the United States as Mexican, the mother, father or both must present a certified copy of the birth certificate of their daughter and son duly apostilled, and a certified translation before the civil registry of your locality. This procedure becomes a labyrinth for families since it must be processed in the place where the birth certificate was issued abroad, so many families cannot obtain this requirement, leaving girls and boys, also Mexicans, without legal identity in the country,” says IMUMI.
A new IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) of Venezuelans in Brazil’s Roraima state finds that 95% of respondents do not wish to leave Brazil and that 78% make less than the minimum wage, among other findings.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Last week, Costa Rica launched the National Integration Plan 2023-2027, focused on “6 strategic pillars: Education, Health, Maximization of diversity, Fight against vulnerability and Strengthening of inter-institutional coordination.”
Immigration “raids” and annulling regularization permits (PPT) are at odds with the Petro administration’s rhetoric of “humane migration” and integration, says María José Restrepo at La Silla Vacía.
🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda
IOM and UNHCR’s preliminary report on the several hundred Africans that arrived in Antigua and Barbuda late last year (see AMB 4/3/23)—based on a survey of 110 of them—finds that 44% have university degrees and that 60% have no plans to leave Antigua and Barbuda. (Pointville, Antigua News Room)
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
Washington Post reports, “Biden officials have discussed establishing processing centers in Guatemala and Colombia for asylum seekers, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.”
Human rights organization Pacuhr has expressed concern that the reopening of the Venezuelan border with Aruba and Curaçao may affect irregular Venezuelan migrants in the two countries and has called for “respect for the principle of non-refoulement,” reports El Pitazo.
York University has launched a Refugee Law Lab Portal that “presents legal analytics about Canadian refugee decisions using data compiled from the Federal Court and the Immigration and Refugee Board.” The news release notes, “The Refugee Law Lab plans to continue expanding the portal to provide additional information, including cases that decision-makers most often cite in their decisions.” (via Forced Migration Current Awareness)
“Policies like the (Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the US) are short-sighted because stricter border policies, militarisation and surveillance do not stem migration. Instead, people desperate for protection simply take more dangerous routes, leading to loss of life, broken families and lifelong trauma,” argues an Al Jazeera op-ed, adding that “the STCA’s constitutionality is before the Supreme Court of Canada right now.” CBC, meanwhile, reports that the updated STCA will cost $61.5 million over 10 years, in addition to increasing protection issues. (see AMB 3/27/23 on the updated STCA agreement)
A new article in Journal on Migration and Human Security covers displacement and changing migration dynamics in Mexico, highlighting that the country has yet to pass a law on internal displacement at the federal level, although Chiapas, Guerrero, Sinaloa, and Zacatecas have done so at the state level. Even still, “none of these laws have operational regulations, and thus they have not benefited victims of forced displacement.”
New research in a working paper and law journal paper explore statelessness among African migrants and asylum seekers in Mexico, some of which are not actually stateless in truth. The former argues, “Based in a policy of ambivalence within a messy global migration governance context, the Mexican government has been creating ad-hoc solutions, such as the issuance of stateless cards, whose implications—largely uncertain—may be counterproductive in the long term.”
“Asylum claims by Haitians in Mexico are on track to hit a record above 50,000 this year, a top official said, further pressuring the country's already strained migrant services as many begin to contemplate a future there rather than in the United States,” reports Reuters.
“The fire that killed 40 migrants last month in a Mexican immigration center is only the latest episode of human rights abuses allegedly carried out by Mexico’s national immigration institute against migrants, including reports of sexual assault, torture and cruel treatment.” (Guardian, via Latin America Daily Briefing)
“About two dozen makeshift tents were set ablaze and destroyed at a migrant camp across the border from Texas this week,” reports NPR, highlighting the risks faced by migrants and asylum seekers stuck in Mexico.
A new Centro de Políticas Migratorias report explores Chile’s law for the protection of refugees, recommending to “eliminate practices that hinder access to refugee procedures, apply more expeditious and flexible procedural alternatives, develop complementary protection options, and promote policies for the integration of refugees in different areas.”
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
“The request of an association that watches over the rights of refugees, so that ‘alternative mechanisms’ are created to make an appointment for refugee applicants in the country, was ignored by the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners (DGME) and by the Council of government,” reports AR, highlighting difficulties in obtaining an appointment to apply for asylum.
🇺🇸 United States
Whistleblowers warned the Biden administration two years ago of exploitive migrant child labor to no avail, reports the New York Times, highlighting increasing trafficking and abuse of migrant children.
Wall Street Journal reports on continuing issues with the CBP One app.
Nicaraguan opposition member and exile Félix Maradiaga called for TPS for Nicaraguans at a Wilson Center event last week. He also noted that some of the Nicaraguan exiles in the US, stripped of their Nicaraguan citizenship earlier this year (see AMB 2/27/23), are having trouble getting housing, health insurance, and missing their families—Maradiaga also called for the US government to assist with family reunification.
Pew Research Center breaks down the numbers on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the US, noting, “An estimated 670,000 individuals from 16 countries are either currently registered for TPS or newly eligible for it.”
118 Democrat lawmakers have written a letter to the Biden administration calling for TPS redesignation for Honduras and El Salvador, reports Politico.
Roll Call reports on the thousands of Ukrainians “living and working in the U.S. under an immigration program known as Uniting for Ukraine” that grants two years of protection, noting that “Some Ukrainians have become anxious that they may see their U.S. protections end before they are prepared to return.”
WOLA’s Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at the Beyond the Wall weekly update, noting, “March data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) found that migration at the U.S.-Mexico border increased by 23 percent over February. Some of the principal increases came from nationalities in South America and beyond the Western Hemisphere.”
“On 10 April 2023, the Commission on Citizen Security of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies began its discussion of a bill that criminalizes refugees and migrants in Chile who lack a regular migratory status. If approved, the law would impose prison sentences to those found guilty of irregular entry and stay in the country. This bill builds on policies and practices in Chile that violate the right to seek asylum and would put refugees and migrants at heightened risk of further human rights violations, including arbitrary detention. We demand the Chilean congress rejects this bill,” writes Amnesty International. (see last week’s AMB)
Brazil’s efforts to offer temporary protection and family reunion for Haitian immigrants in the country will prioritize women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities; reports Agência Brasil; adding that “the measure should benefit about 3 thousand people.” (see AMB 4/3/23)
59 migrants have disappeared in the waters around Colombia’s San Andrés archipelago in the last ten months. Some migrants have traveled to San Andrés as a way to avoid the Darien Gap while migrating north. (El Pitazo, AP)
Honduras’ new internal displacement law, passed last December, went into effect April 19th, notes Canal 8. With 247,000 internally displaced between 2014 and 2018, SwissInfo reports that “68% of the displaced suffered appropriation, destruction, abandonment or sale of their properties, and only 32% managed to keep them after displacement.”
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
🇺🇸🇨🇴 Colombia and United States
US President Joe Biden and Colombian President Gustavo Petro met on Thursday last week, releasing a joint statement that highlights the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection and a “joint commitment to counter human smuggling in the Darien.”
El País reports on institutional dysfunction in relation to migration policy in Mexico, noting a lack of budget for the country’s refugee commission (Comar) and that an inter-agency coordination commission established in September 2019 was “From the beginning… marked by its absences,” particularly among high-level officials.
“The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) will become a permanent immigration program or at least continue in some form beyond its slated end date of August next year… Through the five-year RNIP, skilled immigrants are recruited to work in smaller communities with aging populations and labour shortages,” reports Canada Immigration News.
“About 40 per cent of Canadian farmers are expected to retire within the next 10 years, while 66 per cent of farmers don't have a succession plan… researchers expect the agriculture industry to be down 24,000 farm, nursery and greenhouse workers,” reports CBC, highlighting calls for increased permanent agricultural labor migration from a recent RBC report.
Migrants in Transit
Venezuelan maritime migration and human trafficking to Caribbean islands such as Trinidad and Tobago is controlled by local organized crime, reports Runrunes, identifying the Sindicato de Barrancas, Los Pata de Gomas, and the Colombian FARC, as per a Fundaredes report.
“At least 2,500 nationals of India and Pakistan have entered neighbouring Suriname legally over the past several months, and officials believed that many of them have entered Guyana en route to the United States through Mexico,” reports Demerara Waves, adding that “Suriname’s Foreign Affairs Minister Albert Ramdin said Indians, Pakistanis, Cubans and more recently Nepalese have been arriving on flights including those from Trinidad.” Loop News says that “most” are arriving to Suriname via flights from Trinidad and Tobago.
Wall Street Journal highlights increasing Chinese migration through the Americas en route to the US.
“Thousands of migrants, detained for months in southern Mexico, formed a new caravan in protest on Sunday to head for the capital to speed up their applications for U.S. asylum,” reports Reuters, noting that most were Venezuelans.
1,994 immigrants in Chile have “requested their authorization to return to their countries of origin, or to go to another” so far in 2023, compared to 5,671 over the entirety of 2022, reports Emol, adding that officials estimate that more than 10,135 migrants have entered the country irregularly over the same period, with close to 75% estimated to be Venezuelans.
🇸🇻 El Salvador
Emigration of Salvadorans continues despite current improvements in homicide statistics, reports ElSalvador.com, explaining that a lack of job opportunities and violence committed by state actors are leading drivers.
A new IOM DTM covers violence-caused displacement in Cabaret, Haiti.
Borders and Enforcement
Chile passed two bills on immigration enforcement last week. “The first grants more powers to the police to identify irregular migrants, and the second extends the (time period to process expulsion) from 48 hours to 5 days,” reports El Pitazo.
“Peru mobilized some 200 police officers on Wednesday at its border with Chile, before the arrival of dozens of undocumented Venezuelan and Colombian migrants who intend to cross to their countries of origin,” reports Diario Las Americas.
UNHCR and IOM have expressed concern about the “grave situation” of migrants and refugees stranded at the Peru-Chile border, reports SwissInfo. There are currently an average of 150-200 people, 50% of whom are Haitian and 40% of whom are Venezuelan, reports Articulo66.
“As of July 1, 2022, the Surinamese government had abolished the visa requirement for travel to Suriname,” notes Waterkant, explaining that the government is now changing that policy in an effort to avoid being “seen as a transit country or a country that may facilitate human smuggling and illegal movement of people,” according to officials. New visa requirements are to be established starting May 1st for Bangladesh, Cameroon, Cuba, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, Dominican Republic, Syria, Somalia, and Venezuela, notes Bladi, adding, “The government does not plan to impose a visa requirement for citizens of China, Morocco, Romania and Colombia, even though the number of arrivals from these countries has increased.”
Despite reports (see last week’s AMB), Belize’s prime minister has “соnfіrmеd tо rероrtеrѕ thаt nо dесіѕіоn hаѕ уеt bееn mаdе оn іntrоduсіng роtеntіаl rеѕtrісtіоnѕ fоr trаvеl оf Јаmаісаn nаtіоnаlѕ, аѕ Веlіzе grаррlеѕ wіth thе еmеrgіng рrоblеm оf Јаmаісаn аnd Наіtіаn nаtіоnаlѕ uѕіng Веlіzе аѕ а trаnѕіt роіnt tо Мехісо аnd ultіmаtеlу thе Unіtеd Ѕtаtеѕ.” Visa restrictions for Haitians are being implemented. (BBN)
🇺🇸 United States
“The Biden administration is not planning ‘at this time’ to restart family immigration detention, a senior U.S. immigration official said on Tuesday, signaling the contentious practice to more quickly deport families is on hold,” reports Reuters.
🇻🇬 British Virgin Islands
“An immigration officer has been charged in connection with a recent migrant smuggling incident near the British Virgin Islands,” reports Loop News.
🇧🇶 Caribbean Netherlands
“On 1 January 2023, the population of the Caribbean Netherlands stood at 29,418. This is 1,692 (6 percent) more than one year previously. The increase is largely due to population growth on Bonaire, mainly as a result of migration. On Saba, and to a lesser extent on St Eustatius, the population also grew due to a migration surplus,” reports Statistics Netherlands.
An aging population and emigration has led to the sixth straight year of population decline in Curaçao in 2022, reports Antillians Dagblad, highlighting calls for government policies to decrease emigration and increase immigration.
🇹🇨 Turks and Caicos
52% of births over the last decade in Turks and Caicos were to Haitian mothers, reports TC Weekly News, with an additional 9% born to Dominican mothers, 5% to Jamaican mothers, and 2% to mothers of other Caribbean nationalities.
More on Migration
The IDB blog covers remittances in Central America, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic; noting that they decrease poverty and inequality. Most remittances are used for food, healthcare, and basic services.
Wall Street Journal covers “turmoil in the Andes” and increasing US-bound migration from Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, and Peru as a result of social, political, and economic strife.
🇺🇸 United States
US Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has introduced the “Menendez Plan” “to effectively manage migration in the Americas,” through four pillars: (1) expanding legal pathways for migration, (2) increasing resources at the border, (3) funding humanitarian responses and immigrant integration efforts elsewhere in the Americas, and (4) elevating efforts to combat human trafficking and smuggling.
Cato “outlines how to reverse many of the most critical inefficiencies” to address immigration backlogs in the US. Reforms include streamlining processes through a single filing platform, authorizing remote nonimmigrant interviews, and stopping requiring advance parole to travel with applications pending.
Nearly one-third of all federal public workers are on strike in Canada, reports Forbes, highlighting that this will impact “processing applications, in-person appointments or events including citizenship ceremonies, contact with IRCC via email, phone or social media, and consular citizenship and passport services inside and outside Canada. As already mentioned, the strike also probably means likely slowdowns at airports and border crossings.”
Emigration is causing a shortage of labor in Guatemala, particularly in the construction industry, reports La Hora.
Remittances sent from Chile to elsewhere decreased 23% between 2022 and 2021, although 2022 still recorded the second-highest sum of remittances sent from the country in a calendar year, according to La Tercera.
A University of Buenos Aires study finds that 68% of 18-29 year old Argentines and 52% of respondents in general would emigrate if they could. Economics and insecurity were leading reasons.