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Americas Migration Brief - August 7, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
Venezuelan Indigenous migrants have primarily decided to move to Brazil for job opportunities, access to health care, and food security, among other reasons, says an IOM press release for a new DTM report on the population, mapping 13 Indigenous communities.
Operation Horizon, now extended until October 20, is an initiative to help provide access to documentation and legal status for immigrants in Brazil, notes Agência Brasil.
A new Fundación Sol report explores the economic integration and labor market insertion of immigrants in Chile, showing greater access for men than women, among other findings.
“The lack of knowledge of the local real estate market is a thorn in the side of many foreigners,” says La Cuarta, highlighting challenges to access to housing for migrants in Chile.
WFP has published a new report on economic inclusion of Venezuelans in Ecuador, writing that “Beyond the fact that most migrants don’t have legal status to work in Ecuador, over half the migrants who might have digital skills are unable to access the internet,” among other findings.
World Council Ecuador published a new guide on promoting financial inclusion of migrants.
A new SJM and DRC report explores the experiences of the LGBT migrants in Peru and the obstacles that block their access to public services.
“The reality is that Venezuelan migration is not temporary nor is it going to stop in the near future. However, the Peruvian State has treated the Venezuelan exodus as if it were a short-term displacement,” write Oscar Rosales Krumdieck and Feline Freier at El Comercio.
The first year of the Petro administration has seen a lack of focus on Venezuelan migration, “which will have worrying consequences, especially with regard to the integration of almost 3 million people, who represent close to 6 percent of the country's current population,” says Txomin Las Heras Leizaola at Proyecto Venezuela.
Mexico’s president “said his government may provide labor-training programs for migrants to work on infrastructure projects in the southern part of the country,” reports Bloomberg.
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
The Dominican Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology says “Haitians are contributing a lot to the development of the country,” pointing to Haitian labor in the construction and agriculture sectors and noting, “Right now there are 14,000 Haitians in higher education, out of a total of 600,000.” (El País)
🇺🇸 United States
There are nearly 1.9 million beneficiaries of “Twilight Statuses”—temporary statuses without a defined pathway to permanent residency—in the US, notes the Migration Policy Institute, arguing, “This absence of certainty raises concerns for immigrants themselves, their families, U.S. communities, and a broad range of institutions.”
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
“Plan International called on Monday for an "urgent" response to protect girls and women victims of trafficking, particularly in Central America and the Caribbean where more than 50% of victims of sexual exploitation are girls,” reports Efecto Cocuyo, citing a recent UNODC report.
Costa Rica launched a new project with IOM “against trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants in the country, with the aim of strengthening institutional capacities to detect and report issues related to said crimes.” (El Diario)
A new study at Michigan State International Law Review explores “the plight of communities in the Northern Triangle of Central America and Raizal communities in the island of Providencia, Colombia to understand and address current protection gaps in international and domestic frameworks with respect to climate-induced displacement.” (via Forced Migration Current Awareness)
“Activists from A Friendly Hand in the Fight Against AIDS (UMA) and LGBTI migrants on Wednesday complained that during their stay on Mexico’s southern border waiting to move northward they have been facing violence, stigmatization, discrimination and harassment both from Mexican citizens and authorities,” reports La Prensa Latina.
🇺🇸 United States
“A U.S.-Mexico border that is well governed and that also treats migrants and asylum seekers humanely can go hand in hand and should not be seen as an unattainable aspiration. For this to happen, U.S. government personnel who abuse human rights or violate professional standards, must be held to account within a reasonable amount of time and victims must receive justice,” says a new WOLA and Kino Border Initiative report.
“A federal appeals court on Thursday allowed the Biden administration to continue a set of controversial asylum restrictions along the U.S.-Mexico border” until a ruling is made on the Biden administration’s appeal to sustain the program, reports CBS. (see last week’s AMB)
“A new Harvard Law School report found that a Biden administration program intended to speed the processing of asylum cases for prospective immigrants was “neither fair nor expeditious,” reports the Harvard Gazette, exploring the implementation of the “Dedicated Docket” program in Boston.
“The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) has made the difficult decision to discontinue legal consultations and representation for asylum seekers facing their initial screenings in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention centers near the U.S.-Mexico border,” citing government obstruction as the cause. (press release)
“Some states are beginning to pay more attention to access to interpreters of rare languages. In Oregon, lawmakers are funding a program to make it easier for interpreters of Indigenous languages to get certified,” reports Lund Report, explaining the implications for asylum applicants.
WOLA’s Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at the Beyond the Wall weekly update, explaining new developments in Texas that include that “Texas state troopers have begun to separate migrant families” and that “In Eagle Pass on August 2, the remains of two deceased people were found stuck in, or near, the 1,000-foot barrier of buoys and netting that Gov. Abbott had ordered placed in the middle of the river in July… One of the victims was a boy from Honduras.”
“In June, the number of asylum seekers approached the 11,000 mark across Canada. A figure that even exceeds the levels observed at the start of the year, before the change in the rules at the border” with the revised Safe Third Country Agreement between the US and Canada. “Montreal and Toronto airports have now become the main points of entry into the country for asylum seekers,” notes CBC.
🇬🇫 French Guiana
Mainly North African and Middle Eastern asylum seekers in French Guiana are camped out in a public square in the capital city of Cayenne, reports Guyana1, highlighting health issues and a lack of access to clean water and toilets.
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
The US and Colombia have agreed on the details for the US Regional Processing Centers in Colombia that will facilitate migration for Haitians, Cubans, and Venezuelans. There will be three centers, located in Soacha (outside Bogotá), Medellin, and Cali, with the Medellín center open since August 1. (press release, Portafolio)
NBC, however, expresses skepticism about the efficacy of the Regional Processing Centers—located in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala—thus far, adding, “The offices have registered thousands, according to the State Department, but the agency has given no numbers on how many migrants have actually qualified for resettlement in the U.S. or other countries.”
“Anxiety is vying with hope among migrants in this city on Mexico’s southern border a week after Washington endorsed Mexican plans for a combined shelter and processing center here to attend to third-country nationals trying to reach the United States,” reports La Prensa Latina, highlighting voices from civil society.
🇨🇴🇵🇦 Panama and Colombia
Panamanian officials say they are not receiving support from Colombia in their attempts to limit migration through the Darien Gap. (El Espectador)
This came after the two countries had previously signed a binational agreement focused on controlling irregular migration and trafficking through the Darien Gap. (El Tiempo)
A group of Chilean senators have proposed the creation of a permanent commission on migration and immigration law in the country’s Senate, reports Timeline.
The Netherlands has opened up a “Working Holiday” temporary labor migration pathway for youth from Argentina, Canada, and Uruguay—among other countries—as well as a highly skilled labor migration pathway available to all nationalities. (El Observador)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rican authorities are requesting that more than 15,000 Ngäbe Buglé Indigenous persons of Panamanian nationality travel to the country this year to work in the coffee sector as temporary labor migrants, according to TVN.
🇨🇱🇦🇷 Argentina and Chile
The Argentine province of “Mendoza is experiencing, especially since the pandemic, a worrying phenomenon: the growing exodus of highly trained health professionals to Chile,” reports Unidiversidad, highlighting the trend of “taxi doctors.”
🇪🇸🇨🇴 Colombia and Spain
“Structural labor market challenges in the aged care industry in Spain and the scarcity of professionalization in this sector in Colombia can be seen as two sides of the same coin. They represent a unique opportunity to create a mutually beneficial labor mobility program between these two nations,” says LaMP Forum.
🇺🇸 United States
The US has “made available nearly 65,000 additional H-2B visas for temporary nonagricultural workers to come to the U.S. in Fiscal Year 2023, including 20,000 visas allocated for workers from Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Of these, 57,000 have already been issued,” according to a DHS fact sheet.
“On August 1, 2023, new Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced that the first trades round for category-based selection will open this week… Canada has been facing a labour shortage in many areas. This category will focus on candidates with trades expertise — including carpentry, plumbing, and welding — to help the construction sector attract the skilled talent it needs across the country.” (Canadian Immigrant)
Migrants in Transit
“The number of migrants crossing Panama’s dangerous, jungle-clad Darien Gap swelled to almost 250,000 in the first seven months of 2023, surpassing the number that crossed in all of 2022,” reports AP.
“The number of more than 40,000 irregular migrant children who in the first six months of this year transited through the Panamanian jungle of Darién is higher than in all of 2022,” reports El País.
IOM and UNHCR are calling for greater coordination at a regional level on migration, pointing to the record numbers at the Darien Gap. (press release)
International Crisis Group explores migration through the Darien Gap, including from the less traveled Pacific side of the Colombia-Panama border.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rica is set to increase the number of buses facilitating the transit of migrants from the country’s border with Panama to the northern border with Nicaragua, reports SwissInfo, noting that the policy change is a result of protests from local communities.
Cubans are waiting in long lines to buy flights to Nicaragua en route to Mexico and the US, says CiberCuba.
“For many Cubans, Europe has become in recent years another alternative, no less risky, to emigrate in an unconventional way, but just as difficult and risky as the well-known journey through South and Central America,” says Martí News.
Borders and Enforcement
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
“The Dominican Republic deported 26,058 undocumented Haitians in July, a record number,” reports SwissInfo.
🇹🇨 Turks and Caicos
An op-ed at Magnetic Media calls for the United Kingdom to provide greater border enforcement support to Turks and Caicos, a British overseas territory.
🇺🇸 United States
“The Pentagon is calling back 1,100 active-duty troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year,” reports The Hill.
🇻🇬 British Virgin Islands
“Deputy Premier and Minister for Financial Services, Labour, and Trade, Lorna Smith has announced that the BVI intends to lift the visa requirement that is currently in place for Guyanese travellers,” notes BVI News.
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