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Americas Migration Brief - January 9, 2023
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🇺🇸 United States
US President Joe Biden announced last week a new immigration policy program that both restricts asylum through the expansion of Title 42 and also allows for humanitarian parole for up to 30,000 migrants per month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, explains Jordana Timerman at the Latin America Daily Briefing.
The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Theresa Cardinal Brown broke down the policy in a mega thread on Twitter.
Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and WOLA condemned the policy for the expansion of the Title 42 public health measure which prevents vulnerable persons from seeking asylum in the US. US Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Luján (D-NM), Padilla (D-CA) and Booker (D-NJ) also released a statement criticizing the policy.
“The United States will provide $23 million in additional aid to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean to assist migrants with emergencies and to foster their local integration, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar said Thursday,” reports Reuters.
Last week, the US embassy in Havana resumed all visa services for the first time since 2017, reports AP.
“Florida is seeing a rise in the number of migrants from Cuba and Haiti arriving by boat. The Miami sector of U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reported a 400% increase in migrant encounters since October,” reports CBS, noting that Dry Tortugas National Park was temporarily closed last week due to multiple boat landings. (More on this at Just Caribbean Updates and Miami Herald)
Eduardo Stein, special representative of UNHCR and IOM for Venezuelan migrants and refugees, predicts that Venezuelan migration to the United States will probably increase in 2023, reports VOA. Elsewhere, VOA explores what to expect for Central American migration northwards in 2023 in a set of interviews with experts.
“President Joe Biden visited the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday for the first time since taking office,” reports Reuters.
Panamanian authorities report that 248,284 irregular migrants transited through the Darien Gap in 2022, an increase of 86% from 2021. (Prensa Latina)
Following the inauguration of president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil is rejoining the UN Global Migration Pact. Brazil had left the pact in 2019 during the Jair Bolsonaro administration. (Folha)
The number of Brazilians seeking asylum in the United States more than doubled last year, reaching 26,128. (Veja)
Denise Cogo explores at Folha the role of Venezuelan migration to Brazil in Brazil’s 2022 presidential elections, arguing that Bolsonaro used Venezuelans to maintain an anti-Venezuela rhetoric, as opposed to an anti-immigrant rhetoric.
🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda
Ahead of general elections later this month, the UPP party has announced their intention to pass multiple immigration reforms under their “One Caribbean Vision” policy agenda. This includes removing work permit requirements for CARICOM and Dominican Republic nationals. (UPP, Antigua Observer)
“Canada added more than 431,000 new permanent residents last year, the largest annual increase in its history, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seeks to ease the country’s labor shortages,” reports Bloomberg. “To address the looming labor shortage, Canada’s government announced a new goal in November to accept 1.45 million immigrants by 2025, with 60 percent trained in health care and other urgently needed job skills,” adds NBC.
The Nova Scotia government has recruited 65 continuing-care assistants from a Kenyan refugee camp, reports The Toronto Star.
Seasonal workers in the agricultural sector suffer labor exploitation and abuse in Canada, reports La Verdad.
Over 600,000 Nicaraguans left the country since 2018, including 328,443 during 2022 alone, reports Confidencial. In the last week of December, the country emitted over 5,000 new passports to citizens, notes Nicaragua Investiga.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s agricultural sector is suffering labor shortages due to tightened immigration laws, reports 100%Noticias.
“On January 2, 2023, the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (DGME) of Costa Rica started the transition process towards a new digital immigration identity document for foreigners,” reports Mondaq.
According to Costa Rican authorities, more than 43 thousand Nicaraguans left Costa Rica in December despite just 27 thousand entering the country, reports La Prensa. However, this does not account for irregular migration between official ports of entry.
🇭🇳🇺🇸 United States and Honduras
A high-level delegation will meet tomorrow in Tegucigalpa to discuss migration, among other topics. (SwissInfo)
The newly developed Democrats Party that emerged from the Concertación coalition is calling on President Gabriel Boric to focus his agenda on “public security, terrorism, and illegal migration” in 2023, reports La Tercera.
Chile’s constitutional draft that was voted down in September of last year “ended up disregarding or rejecting many of the constitutional norms upholding migrant rights that had been proposed by civil society organizations and left-wing representatives in late 2021 and early 2022,” writes Pablo Seward Delaporte at NACLA.
Based on surveys of both migrants and locals, a study by authors in Revista De Saúde Pública analyzes “the relationship between immigration and perceived discrimination and immigration, discrimination and health outcomes, adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and social capital.”
Based on interviews with migrants, a study by Mahara Sleiman Mora in Revista Temas Sociológicos “seeks to understand whether migration in Temuco, Chile, is constructed as a transnational phenomenon based on the trajectory of migrants from Venezu-ela and Colombia in La Araucanía in the face of the South-South migration phenomenon.”
“In Chile, UNICEF teams help newly arrived students integrate into local public schools,” reports Forbes.
🇻🇪🇨🇴 Venezuelans in Colombia
El Pitazo issues five recommendations to improve the integration of the 2.5 million Venezuelans currently living in Colombia: (1) strengthen institutionality and migration management, (2) maintain the temporary protection statute (Etpve), (3) guarantee access to education, (4) promote socio-economic integration, and (5) tackle xenophobia. In a similar vein, Vanguardia covers 12 challenges and lessons from Colombia’s experience so far.
Lack of access to services or a stable income were leading reasons to return to Venezuela according to returnees surveyed in a recent Mixed Migration Centre report, notes Proyecto Venezuela.
The Empropaz program, funded by USAID, is working to help promote financial inclusion and bank account ownership among Venezuelan migrants in Colombia, reports Proyecto Venezuela.
🇸🇻 El Salvador
According to Cristosal, at least 349 Salvadorans have been internally displaced by violence from gang members and state security forces during the country’s state of exception between March and December 2022, reports Infobae.
Following protests by some 5,000 migrants in Tapachula, the Mexican Refugee Aid Commission (Comar) has reopened its offices for asylum applications, reports Fortuna y Poder. Dozens of Tapachula residents also protested last week for the relocation of Comar offices due to the agglomeration of migrants in the city seeking to access the commission’s services. (SwissInfo)
Mexico received 118,478 asylum applications during 2022, second only to 2021’s record of over 130,000 applications, reports SwissInfo. Over 31,000 Hondurans applied for asylum in the country, followed by Cubans (18,087) and Haitians (17,068).
Forced internal displacement caused by violence and insecurity has increased in Mexico in recent years, but the country and its states lack policies to address this issue, write Oscar Rodríguez Chávez and María Inés Barrios in El Universal.
A new report by the Women's Refugee Commission and others explores the impact of US and Mexican migration policies on women and LGBT Venezuelans in Southwest Mexico.
A survey by El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in shelters in Matamoros between May and September 2022 found that a majority of the 300 surveyed adult migrants left their city of origin due to violence, reports Milenio.
Guatemala received a record $18 billion in remittances in 2022, reports Soy502.
Guatemala is reinforcing its border control capacity and preparing for an increase in migration as a result of the Biden administration’s newly announced policy measures that include the expansion of Title 42 and introduction of new humanitarian parole pathways. (Prensa Latina, La Estrella, El Periodico)
Plaza Pública highlights the voices of the Guatemalan diaspora in the US that want to vote in their home country’s 2023 presidential election but lack information. Just 1% of registered Guatemalan voters in the US voted in Guatemala’s last elections.
962 individuals requested refugee status in Guatemala in 2022, with the National Commission for Refugees (CONARE) recognizing 773 individuals as refugees over the course of the year, predominantly from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. (IGM, Prensa Libre)
🇱🇨 Saint Lucia
🇨🇱🇵🇪 Peru and Chile
Peruvian police have accused Chilean law enforcement of allowing irregular migration—primarily of Venezuelans and Haitians—from Chile to Peru. And Chilean police allege the reverse. (La República)
A new trend has emerged of Russian women reportedly traveling to Argentina to give birth to their children. One Telegram group with about 2,000 members is used to share concerns and advice from those considering the move. (La Nación)
Argentinian descendants of Galicians are returning to their ancestors’ homelands in Spain’s northwestern autonomous community. “Far from discouraging immigration, the Galician government has set up offices offering the returnees help with jobs, schools and housing, as well as financial support,” reports The Guardian.
Fundación Arepa Viva is collecting toys to donate to Venezuelan and other children in need in Misiones province. The head of the NGO, José León Toro, notes that there is not a lot of Venezuelan migration to Argentina currently, although there is a trend of family reunification, reports Misiones Cuatro.
🇵🇪🇲🇽 Mexico and Peru
An editorial by Enfoque Derecho examines Mexico’s decision to grant asylum to Lilia Paredes, the wife of former Peruvian president Pedro Castillo.
🇩🇴🇭🇹 Haitians in the Dominican Republic
Last week, the director general for migration of the Dominican Republic asserted that he “will not cede to any international pressure” over deportations of Haitians, reports La Información. According to El Viajero, he also called for employers to avoid hiring irregular migrants. The Dominican Republic has been criticized for its treatment of Haitian migrants and refugees.
🇹🇨🇭🇹 Haitians in Turks and Caicos
Between December 23 and January 2, authorities from Turks and Caicos intercepted three boats carrying 275 Haitian migrants. By January 3, 184 had been repatriated to Haiti, with authorities declining to comment to The Guardian about how many were seeking asylum.
Nicaraguans in transit to the United States face extortion and corruption while attempting to travel through Honduras, reports The Japan Times.
Expediente Público profiles the stories of Venezuelan migrants in Honduras.
According to Maryluz Vallejo, interviewed by Cambio, Colombia had a history of persecution and arbitrary deportation of immigrants throughout the 20th century, explored in her new book, Xenofobia al rojo vivo.
El Observador profiles the story of an Afghan refugee family in Uruguay.
🇰🇾🇨🇺 Cubans in the Cayman Islands
48 Cuban refugees arrived at the Cayman Islands by boat between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day; all “are being processed in accordance with established CBC protocols.” (Cayman Compass, Cayman News Service)
🇦🇼🇻🇪 Venezuelans in Aruba
Between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, the Aruban coast guard intercepted three boats carrying 23 Venezuelans attempting to irregularly migrate to the island country. (El Pitazo)