Americas Migration Brief - April 3, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
“As a result of poverty and high rates of violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, around 3.7 million children and adolescents are displaced or on the move in search of better opportunities and access to basic services. In this search, migrants are forced to interrupt their studies and face multiple barriers to continue their learning, whether in transit or host countries,” writes UNESCO, adding that “1 out of every 2 Venezuelan migrants and refugees face challenges in accessing education,” while highlighting the “Education without limits: I learn here or there” campaign launched by UNICEF and partners.
A forthcoming publication exploring the migration-citizen security nexus in Chile finds that “misconceptions about crime increase when migrants arrive in large numbers,” with these perceptions most prevalent in the case of non-European-origin and less-educated migration, according to a news release from McGill. The paper overall finds “null effects of immigration on crime.”
Brazil is set to grant one-year, humanitarian temporary residence visas to Haitians, reports Paraná Portal.
Brazil’s “Operation Welcome” to help voluntarily resettle Venezuelan migrants and refugees across the country has reached 100,000 interiorizations across 930 municipalities, according to a press release.
Venezuelan migrant and refugee women residing in Roraima state addressed local, state, and federal authorities with “proposals for public policies to improve access to fundamental rights, such as health, decent work and education,” including calling for a “Casa do Migrante” to help provide information to those in need. (UN)
Barometro de Xenofobia covers public perceptions and narratives surrounding the amnesty for migrant fines announced last week (see last week’s AMB), finding that “the most widespread (narrative) had to do with the ‘anti-technical nature of the proposal,’ delegitimizing the cost-benefit analysis that had been done to justify the bill… The most important (counter-plot) compared the amount of exemption from fines with the contribution of the migrant population to GDP, which would increase if regularization was promoted.”
A new Journal of Migration and Health paper explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Colombia, finding increased housing instability, job instability, and barriers to accessing healthcare, among other issues.
A new study at the Journal for Labour Market Research examines immigrant integration through the framing of Canada’s national sport, ice hockey, finding that “practicing winter sports has a positive effect on the earnings of immigrants and other minority groups. Specifically, practicing winter sports closes the income gap between immigrants and natives. However, the gap does not decrease for visible-minority immigrants, suggesting that acculturation might not be sufficient to combat racial biases.”
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
“From 2021 to date, 37 Safe Spaces have been created throughout the country, for national and foreign children and adolescents in priority communities of migrant destination, providing child protection, psychosocial assistance and learning recovery services for a monthly average of 2,800 highly vulnerable children and adolescents,” reports Periodico Mensaje.
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
A new Danish Refugee Council report explores protection and integration issues in Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. Findings include an increasing prevalence of violence/insecurity as the cause of migration for those residing in Mexico—primarily having emigrated from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Between October and December 2022, 69% of surveyed children and adolescents in Peru reported not having access to education.
1,390 Venezuelan women and girls were rescued from human trafficking rings in 2022, reports Runrunes.
“Footage from a Mexican migrant processing center in Ciudad Juárez where 39 people died in a fire on (March 27) appears to show security guards walking away from inmates protesting in locked cells, even as a blaze appears. In the footage, men unsuccessfully try to open the barred door as smoke quickly spreads… About 400 migrants from Latin America gathered to protest yesterday outside the migrant processing center. Migrants have described instances of overcrowding in which an area meant to hold 20 people sometimes had double that number,” writes Jordana Timerman at the Latin America Daily Briefing (also here). As of Friday, 3 National Institute for Migration (INM) officers and 2 private security officers have been arrested, reports Reuters.
🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda
After departing Antigua en route to the US Virgin Islands, “At least 14 people from the African nation of Cameroon were rescued from waters in the eastern Caribbean early Tuesday after their boat capsized, but three people were dead and 13 others missing,” reports AP. “Antigua and Barbuda’s chief immigration officer confirmed today that at least 450 West Africans, who were brought to the country last year on charted flights, remain on the twin island nation… The government had previously said 637 of the more than 900 people who touched down between November and January remained in Antigua,” notes Loop News. UNHCR and IOM have announced they will “analyze the situation” of the group, reports Prensa Latina.
Over the past week, since the implementation of the new “Safe Third Country” agreement between the US and Canada, 8 bodies have been found of migrants “who died trying to cross from Canada into the United States,” reports AP. (see last week’s AMB)
Asylum seekers relocated from Quebec to the Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland are having difficulty accessing legal counsel, reports Reuters.
🇺🇸 United States
WOLA’s Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at the Beyond the Wall weekly update, including further exploring the deadly Ciudad Juárez fire and detailing public responses to the Biden administration’s proposed restrictions on access to asylum.
Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
🇺🇸🇨🇦 Canada and United States
The “Safe Third Country Agreement” announced by Canada and the US on March 24th was actually signed during the spring of 2022, reports CBC, explaining that the deal was kept secret while US officials cleared its feasibility among various agencies. (see last week’s AMB)
🇨🇴🇺🇸 United States and Colombia
“The United States invited Colombia on (March 27th) to deepen cooperation on migration, the fight against drug trafficking and the fight against the climate crisis, during the High-Level Dialogue held by officials from both governments in Washington,” reports EFE.
🇧🇸 The Bahamas
“The Government grants around 15,000 work permits annually, out of around 30,000 applications, of which the majority are usually for posts such as maids, gardeners, labourers and landscapers,” reports The Tribune, discussing labor and migration in the country and efforts to “develop a national policy to govern the issuance of work permits.”
“IRCC Minister Sean Fraser has announced Canada will introduce a new immigration pathway that aims to connect employers in Canada with skilled refugees and displaced persons… Over the next few years, Canada is looking to expand the EMPP and welcome 2,000 qualified refugees and displaced persons to fill labour shortages via the EMPP,” reports CIC News.
Migrants in Transit
87,390 migrants passed through the Darien Gap in the first quarter of 2023, seven times more than over the same period last year. A record number of children are traversing the Darien, too. (SwissInfo, France24)
An estimated 1,000-1,200 Hondurans leave the country in family units per day, reports Tiempo.
A new IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) covers child and adolescent migration in the Nicaraguan departments of Chinandega and Rivas.
Borders and Enforcement
Irregular migration to northern Chile has fallen 54.5% over the first quarter of 2023, reports El País, attributing the drop to the deployment of the armed forces for border enforcement. InfoMigra covers the procedures of the armed forces at the border.
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
The border wall the Dominican Republic is building in the northwest of the country “crisscrosses a thick mangrove forest and threatens the ecosystem by depriving it of water, environmental groups warn,” reports France24.
“Montevideo is decentralizing,” reports Ambito, explaining that Uruguay is seeing increasing internal migration away from the capital city of Montevideo.
More on Migration
The IDB has published a blog co-authored by myself and Valerie Lacarte, Ana María Saiz, Diego Chaves-González, and Jeremy Harris about our recent report on migration in the Caribbean: Migration, Integration, and Diaspora Engagement in the Caribbean: A Policy Review. (see AMB 3/13/23)
A new USCRI, IRAP, and HUMSI report “analyzes the intersection of climate change and climate-related disasters with other root causes of movement across borders for people who have traveled to the United States-Mexico border from Central America and other parts of Mexico to seek U.S. humanitarian protection.”
Noria has published a series of papers focused on the impact of violence and insecurity on emigration from Central America, most specifically Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.
A new IDB blog covers remittances across Latin America and the Caribbean in 2022, noting that $142.325 million was sent over the course of the year, growing by 11.6% from 2021, but not matching the IDB’s predictions from June 2022. Mexico received by far the most remittances, followed by Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia.
The Barbados Immigration Department is undergoing training and “reconstruction,” reports Barbados Today, adding, “Immigration Officer Terry Simmons noted that as the Government seeks to increase the population through managed migration, the department will become even more critical and transformation was therefore necessary.” According to Stabroek News, “In late February, the National Population Commission of Barbados released its draft document which sets out how the country plans to grow its population by 185,000 from its current level of 289,000 by 2050.”
Argentina is increasingly denying tourist visa extensions and residence permits for Russians, according to Russian state-owned news agency TASS.