Discover more from Americas Migration Brief
Americas Migration Brief - August 14, 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.
Table of Contents
Integration and Development
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
“Nicaraguan labor represents 16% of the labor market in Costa Rica and is mainly focused on agriculture, construction, commerce and domestic work,” reports EFE, citing a CETCAM report, and noting that the labor rights of Nicaraguan migrants are less respected than those of their Costa Rican counterparts.
The report also explains that the Costa Rican government spends 201,396 colones per capita on services for migrants, in comparison to the 809,822 colones per capita spent for Costa Ricans.
El Estímulo highlights the importance of regularization and integration for Venezuelans in Costa Rica, noting high rates of underemployment.
The Inter-American Development Bank approved a $20 million grant to Costa Rica in an effort “to make local and migrant populations less vulnerable to violence, marginalization, and discrimination.” (press release)
ReGHID explores the sexual and reproductive health of Venezuelan migrant women and adolescent girls in Brazil, noting that among those surveyed in the investigation, “Almost all of them had access to personal documents, primarily the Social Security Number (CPF) (91%) and the Brazilian Unified Health Care (SUS) Card (72%). Most of the women were either seeking asylum or had temporary or permanent residency, while 13% were undocumented.”
“Founded and led by Indigenous Venezuelans in the state of Pará, the Warao Ojiduna Council seeks to safeguard traditions and promote economic self-sufficiency for the forcibly displaced Warao population” in Belém, Brazil. (UNHCR)
“In Brazil, UNHCR, the Jesuit Service to Migrants and Refugees (SJMR) and other partners are working with displaced Indigenous artisans to bring e-commerce opportunities to local communities.” (UNHCR)
“The securitization of migration policy, that is, instrumentalizing the migrant population as a threat to security in the country's cities, is becoming a constant in the incipient campaign for the October regional elections,” writes María José Restrepo at La Silla Vacía.
Proyecto Venezuela covers the cancellation of 43,000 identification cards over 1.5 years ago and where the situation sits now—still unresolved.
Colombia’s historic regularization of Venezuelan migrants has seen setbacks over the last year, says María Gabriela Trompetero at Proyecto Venezuela, highlighting gaps between policy and practice.
🇰🇾 Cayman Islands
“Many of the points-based applications for permanent residency that have been refused over the last year are likely to be overturned on appeal because the process leading to those decisions remains flawed,” per a local attorney, says CaymanNewsService.
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
El InterCambio presents “Las que huyen,” a series of stories about Central American refugee women.
“In visits to Venezuela’s border regions, InSight Crime has collected multiple testimonies that highlight the role security officials play in allowing trafficked victims to leave the country unhindered. However, the high levels of impunity at the institutional level prevent these cases from being recorded in the media,” reports InSight Crime, explaining the reach of transnational human trafficking networks originating in Venezuela.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rican authorities have suspended application processing of the “Special Temporary Category” regularization program for Nicaraguans, Cubans, and Venezuelans that had their refugee applications denied. The move is temporary as officials await a Constitutional Court ruling on an action of unconstitutionality, presented over the wording that “establishes as a requirement that refugee applicants renounce their application for international protection to opt for the Special Temporary Category.” (Confidencial)
Mexico gave out over 81,000 Visitor Cards for Humanitarian Reasons (TVRH) during the first half of 2023, over one-third of which were given to Haitian migrants, reports Enfoque Noticias.
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
“At least 13 Haitian migrants lost their lives when the SUV they were traveling in veered off the road and plunged into an irrigation canal in the Dominican Republic,” reports CNW, noting that authorities believe they had been in the process of irregularly entering the country.
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago
UNHCR and local civil society have called for Trinidad and Tobago to provide protection to Venezuelans in the country and not deport them. 196 Venezuelans were detained by officials last month. (Guardian, El Pitazo)
At least 98 of the Venezuelans were deported this past weekend, notes El Pitazo.
“Victims of sex trafficking in Peru include a disproportionately high number of Venezuelan migrants,” reports The New Humanitarian, explaining the role of the Tren de Aragua organized crime group.
🇺🇸 United States
“The Biden administration appears to have hit on a successful formula for managing dysfunction at the border—at least for now. The new migration policy is built around a three-part strategy: tightening enforcement at the U.S.-Mexican border, expanding legal pathways for entry, and vetting candidates for asylum and humanitarian protection in countries of origin rather than primarily at the border itself,” writes MPI’s Andrew Selee at Foreign Affairs, explaining that various policy measures will continue to take time to develop, expand capacity, and achieve results—if allowed to continue—but show the potential for a successful model that could be used elsewhere in the world, too.
Restrictions on access to asylum have failed to reduce border crossings and should be discarded, argues former Obama and Biden administration official Andrea R. Flores at New York Times. Flores also advocates for expanding access to TPS and humanitarian parole, among other policy proposals, and adds, “Until Congress finds the political will to act, the president should use his authority to relieve pressure on our asylum system and give migrants the ability to legally work once they reach the United States.”
Various civil society organizations have filed a complaint with DHS over the “reliance on unreliable information from foreign governments in enforcement practices and immigration proceedings,” particularly from El Salvador, given “the country’s deteriorating human rights situation” and the growing frequency of unsubstantiated allegations in the country. (press release)
Center for American Progress explores how to “Assist Cities and States Receiving Asylum-Seekers Across the U.S.”
WOLA’s Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at the Beyond the Wall weekly update, explaining, “In July, Arizona’s hottest month on record, Border Patrol apprehended more migrants in its Tucson Sector—which comprises most of the state’s border miles—than in any month since April 2008. Large groups of migrants are arriving in very remote desert areas west of Nogales, straining U.S. agencies’ capacity to process them. Preliminary data point to many migrants perishing in the intense heat.”
🇬🇫 French Guiana
The city of Cayenne is suing to have asylum seekers removed from an encampment at Place des Amandiers while they await open slots for housing accommodations (see last week’s AMB). The city of Matoury, meanwhile, is building emergency shelter space for asylum seekers that may be able to serve some of this population. (Guyana1, Guyana1)
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
🇨🇴🇨🇷 Costa Rica and Colombia
Colombian president Gustavo Petro will visit Costa Rica later this month, discussing migration, among other topics, with Costa Rican officials. (Infobae)
Argentine citizens are reportedly entering Uruguay to work in the citrus sector as pendular migrants, says Perfil, highlighting criticisms from Uruguayan unions.
So far this year, more than 3,700 Guatemalans have left the country for temporary labor migration programs in the US, Canada, and Italy. (Prensa Latina)
Pivot highlights abuses against temporary labor migrants in Canada.
“Employment and Social Development Canada has announced a new three-year Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program aimed at reducing administrative hurdles for eligible employers and addressing labor shortages in Canada,” reports Fragomen.
The number of beneficiaries of Canada’s Start-Up Visa (SUV) immigration program increased by 6.3% between the first six months of 2023 and of 2022. (Immigration)
Bermuda “plans to automate the work-permit application process and revise restricted job categories to attract new residents to the island,” particularly from “high-demand, globally competitive occupations.” (Royal Gazette)
Migrants in Transit
DHS has announced a “modernization” of the family reunification parole process for Cubans and Haitians to go to the US, moving more of the process online so as to “(eliminate) the burden of travel, time, and paperwork and (increase) access to participation.” Eligibility is also expanded for Haitians, who were previously only eligible if their Form I-130 had been approved on or before December 18, 2014.
El Pitazo reports on increasing migration and regularization of Latin Americans in Spain, particularly Venezuelans and Colombians.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
“In the last week, around 2,500 migrants arrived every day at the border between Costa Rica and Panama with the intention of crossing the country to continue on their way to the United States,” per government sources, reports La Teja.
A boat carrying Cuban migrants to the Cayman Islands “is the first boat carrying Cuban migrants reported in Cayman waters since January,” says CaymanNewsService. The group was eventually detained by Cayman officials.
Cuban migrants have regularly also traveled by sea to the US (see, for example, here)
“More and more Cubans can be noticed in (Krajina, Bosnia and Herzegovina) who are on their ‘Balkan route’ with the aim of going to the countries of the EU,” reports Sarajevo Times.
Confidencial highlights the stories of Nicaraguan migrants in Ciudad Juárez, waiting to get into the US: “They are trapped in a city where the dangers they thought they left behind are lurking. They cannot continue their dream nor return.”
El Tiempo highlights how the town of Bajo Chiquito, the first outside of the Darien Gap in Panama, has been transformed by increasing migration, writing, “the people, who used to depend on fishing and agriculture, now see a business opportunity in each migrant.”
Borders and Enforcement
🇺🇸 United States
A May 2021 internal review of immigration detention centers by the Biden administration “(highlighted) around two dozen U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers and (recommended) some be closed,” but only saw one closure, reports Reuters, noting that “as a presidential candidate in 2020, Joe Biden pledged to end for-profit immigration detention.” The investigation highlights the profits of private prison companies amid reports of abuses, lack of translators, “poor medical care and sanitation, a lack of access to lawyers, sexual assault and detainee deaths.”
“A new lawsuit by Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition, the National Immigration Project (NIP), and the ACLU of Virginia challenge ICE’s practice of holding immigrants in detention and trying to deport them even after a judge has allowed them to stay in the United States,” explains Austin Kocher on Substack.
🇹🇨 Turks and Caicos
So far in 2023, 3,030 irregular migrants—mainly Haitians— have been detained trying to enter Turks and Caicos. “Official reports from the Ministry of Border Services earlier this year indicated that 1,426 persons were detained from 23 vessels in 2021, and in 2022, there were 2,132 persons arriving on 28 vessels,” notes TCWeeklyNews.
🇪🇨🇵🇪 Peru and Ecuador
Peru has deployed more than 200 police to its border with Ecuador, reports Correo.
“This year marks a century since the Great Kanto Earthquake and 115 years since the first migration of Japanese people to Brazil, but it was the disaster and subsequent mayhem in and around the Tokyo area that became the main catalyst for the growth of the diaspora in the South American nation,” reports The Mainichi, noting that Brazil hosts the world’s largest Japanese-descendent diaspora population.
More on Migration
I spoke with Daniella Monroy of the Universidad del Rosario’s Venezuela Observatory about the creation of the Americas Migration Brief, current migration trends, and the importance of upcoming elections in the US and Mexico to determine the future of migration policy. (podcast in Spanish, I start at min. 51)
Bloomberg highlights that guns from the US are being used for crime and violence in Guatemala, thus helping push Guatemalans to migrate north.