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Americas Migration Brief - August 28, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
“For most local governments, coordination with national policies represents one of their main challenges,” writes Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian of the OAS at Global Americans.
Colombia’s Petro administration will introduce “by October at the latest” a new regularization measure—separate from the regularization introduced by the previous Duque administration—in an effort to fill the gaps and regularize Venezuelan migrants that have not taken part in the previous measure or that are ineligible because they arrived in the country after January 31, 2021, according to the director of Migración Colombia. (Proyecto Venezuela)
“During the first week of September, a new call will be opened so that Venezuelans residing in (Bogotá) can obtain the Temporary Protection Permit (PPT)... The idea is that the people who are summoned obtain this document in a single day,” says El Espectador.
A new USAID and World Council report exploring economic and labor inclusion of Venezuelans in Ecuador finds that although 36% arrived to the country with professional titles, only 19% surveyed were able to validate their title, among other findings. (press release)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rica has established “new barriers to work for asylum seekers, affecting the delivery of work permits and prohibiting self-employment,” says Refugees International, additionally highlighting social security contribution requirements that many asylum seekers struggle to comply with, putting their work permits in jeopardy.
InfoAmazonia investigates the recruitment and victimization of Venezuelans by preying Brazilian organized crime networks involved in illegal mining, drug trafficking, prostitution, and more. Between 2019 and 2022, 20% of homicide victims in Brazil’s borderland Roraima state were Venezuelan.
O Povo explores the challenges faced by Indigenous Warao migrants from Venezuela in Brazil.
The city of Foz de Iguaçu is developing its “first Municipal Plan for the Rights of Migrants, Refugees and Stateless Persons.” (GDia)
Panama is temporarily suspending all migration procedures, including for the country’s temporary regularization program (see AMB 7/24/23), due to “serious difficulties” in their information systems, reports Directorio Noticias.
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
“In a context of increasingly complex and challenging human mobility, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, provides protection and assistance to 21.4 million people in the Americas… (but) only a third of UNHCR’s financial needs in 2023 had been covered by the end of July,” says UNHCR.
There were multiple stories of accidents and disasters killing or severely injuring people during their migration journeys over the last week, including in southern Mexico (El Pitazo, Primicias) and Costa Rica (La Vanguardia). ADN adds that in the first half of the year, at least 70 people have died or disappeared on the maritime route between Cuba and the US, while a further 74 migrants have been discovered dead in Panama so far this year, mainly in the Darien Gap, per Telemetro.
Migrant disappearances in Mexico are significantly underreported, notes Conexión Migrante.
“U.S. authorities say it generally takes six to eight weeks of daily attempts to get an appointment on CBP One. Many migrants interviewed by The Associated Press said they have been trying around three months, though some said they have gotten lucky after only a few days of trying,” reports AP in a piece highlighting insecurity in Matamoros, Mexico.
Venezuelan youth in Peru are less likely than their Peruvian peers to know or trust institutions that provide protection or assistance in cases of gender-based violence, reports Ojo, citing a recent Plan International study.
🇺🇸 United States
“The asylum ban must end. It is not only a moral imperative, but the United States’ legal responsibility to uphold the rights of people fleeing violence and persecution. Rather than continued investment in deterrence and militarization, the Biden administration should put resources toward ensuring due process by hiring more immigration judges and funding universal access to counsel, which are some ways to efficiently guarantee that people with asylum claims are heard,” says IRAP.
A trial on the future of the Biden administration’s humanitarian parole policy began last week. (Roll Call)
“The Department of Homeland Security said it would allow 166,700 more Ukrainians in the U.S. to apply for Temporary Protected Status,” reports CBS.
WOLA’s Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at the Beyond the Wall weekly update, explaining, “The Justice Department’s lawsuit against the state of Texas, seeking to compel Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to remove a “wall” of buoys in the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, went before a federal judge in Austin,” with a ruling slated for potentially as early as this week.
The government of Texas has also been criticized for sending migrants to Los Angeles amid an emergency situation with Tropical Storm Hillary. (Prensa Libre)
The Border Chronicle, meanwhile, reports on the influence of Hungary in the development of Texas’ “Operation Lone Star,” which is behind these policies.
Belize’s Human Rights Commission is calling for the government to “enact a protocol, which guides law enforcement authorities to ensure the human rights of migrants are not violated,” reports LoveFM.
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
The US has “announced more than $16 million in humanitarian assistance as a contribution to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for capacity building efforts through the Western Hemisphere Regional Migration Program (WHP).” (press release)
The expansion of free movement in the Caribbean offers an opportunity for sustainable development, says IOM’s Patrice Quesada, noting, “Consideration of how the Caribbean can capitalize on the opportunities ahead would be incomplete if we did not take into account the need for accurate, comparable and up to date data to support a robust evidence-based policy on free movement. As it is repeatedly acknowledged, the need for data in the Caribbean is one of the major accelerators identified to support the sustainable development of the Caribbean in all sectors – migration included.” (see, also, a recent special edition of the AMB on the subject)
El Tiempo reports on US Regional Processing Centers in Colombia, noting that the two in Medellín and Cali are up and running but that the center in Soacha, near Bogotá, is expected to begin operations in the coming weeks. They add, “there were almost 4,000 people who registered and for whom their procedures are already being advanced. No further applications will be accepted for now.”
The Regional Processing Centers in Guatemala, originally intended for Guatemalan, Honduran, Salvadoran, and Nicaraguan applicants, are now only accepting Guatemalan applications, reports Prensa Libre.
“Representatives from 23 countries in the Americas met in Panama on Wednesday to discuss the migration crisis, which Panamanian Foreign Minister Janaina Tewaney, host of the event, called the ‘regional challenge of the 21st century,’” reports La Prensa Latina.
The forum of presiding officers of national parliaments of Central America and the Caribbean (FOPREL) met last week to discuss “the challenges affecting Climate and Environmental Migration,” among other issues. (Love FM)
🇲🇽🇬🇹 Guatemala and Mexico
“Bernardo Arévalo, president-elect of Guatemala, assured that he will seek to work together with the Mexican government to address problems such as migration and drug trafficking that affect both nations,” reports La Silla Rota.
🇵🇪🇪🇨 Ecuador and Peru
Ecuadorian and Peruvian officials have signed an agreement for enhanced border enforcement cooperation and migration information sharing, among other topics. (SwissInfo)
🇺🇸🇨🇷 Costa Rica and United States
“U.S. President Joe Biden will host Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves next Tuesday, the White House said on Wednesday, with two Biden administration officials adding that topics in the meeting will include immigration and China,” reports Reuters.
Mexico’s new foreign minister, Alicia Bárcena, “has elevated the topic of migration in the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs,” says MPI’s Andrew Selee at El Universal.
Canada “is investigating allegations that a farm in Southwestern Ontario sent six Jamaican seasonal workers home earlier than planned after they protested their living and working conditions.” (London Free Press, CBC)
“Hundreds of migrant workers evacuated in the Okanagan Valley have been left in limbo due to wildfires and smoke. Without pay, they say they face an uncertain future,” notes Delta Optimist.
The OECD “has designated Canada as the most attractive country for immigrant start-up founders within the OECD,” reports Canada Immigration News.
🇵🇦🇨🇷 Costa Rica and Panama
Panamanian and Costa Rican authorities have signed an agreement to facilitate the regular labor migration of Ngöbe-Buglé Indigenous Panamanians to Costa Rica to work as coffee harvesters. (Monumental, TV2)
Newsroom highlights the need for labor migration to Guyana, with IOM estimating that the country needs upwards of 100,000 new workers.
Portugal is attempting to recruit Brazilian doctors, explains SchengenVisa.
Migrants in Transit
R4V has published a report on regional Venezuelan migration which includes a map of entries and exits in selected countries. Colombia saw over 40,000 Venezuelans leave the country over the last three months, with Ecuador also reporting net departures—Brazil, by contrast, saw net entries of nearly 30,000 Venezuelans through regular channels.
El Espectador reports on the prevalence of families undertaking multiple migration treks.
Doctors Without Borders has published a map of migrant routes and available services throughout Central America and Mexico.
The UN reports on Twitter the daily entry of around 4,000 migrants transiting through Honduras.
Honduran officials have confirmed that they will not close the border amid increased migration, reports Tiempo.
Veja highlights the continued struggles of Afghans stranded at São Paulo’s Guarulhos airport.
🇰🇾 Cayman Islands
Another boat carrying Cuban migrants to the Cayman Islands has been detained, the second in as many weeks. (ADN)
Borders and Enforcement
Guatemala is “intensifying security monitoring in the border area with Honduras” amid increased migration and a reported caravan of around 1,300 migrants from multiple countries. (Prensa Libre)
Panamanian officials have announced that the country “will be taking forceful measures and actions” to halt migration through the Darien Gap, reports El Nacional, noting that more than 307,000 migrants have crossed through the jungle so far this year.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
“The Legislative Assembly has approved a motion declaring a State of Emergency for Public Calamity along Costa Rica’s southern border in response to the ongoing migrant crisis… The decree urges the executive branch to take immediate action to address the escalating humanitarian emergency. This includes activating the Permanent Binational Commission with Panama to tackle border problems,” reports Tico Times.
Peru has extended the state of emergency along its borders “in order to guarantee compliance with immigration laws and control transnational crime,” says La Gaceta.
Brazil and Japan will remove visa requirements for each other's nationals. (Fragomen)
🇺🇸 United States
“The majority of rural counties have fewer working-age people than 20 years ago. As populations decline and economies shrink, rural communities have to get by with fewer services and fewer resources. But in several counties, increased immigration by just a couple of hundred people each year has erased population losses. These success stories are a model for how smart immigration policy can help reverse rural population decline, providing real opportunities for rural America to regain population and significantly improve quality of life,” says Fwd.us in a new report on rural population decline in the US.
More on Migration
🇺🇸 United States
Ioan Grillo explores on Substack how Mexican cartels have infiltrated US border enforcement.
During the first half of 2023, remittances nearly equaled exports in the Nicaraguan economy, 2.215 to 2.216 billion USD. (E&N)