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Americas Migration Brief - January 16, 2023
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Migrants in Transit
🇵🇦 Darien Gap
More than 6,000 migrants crossed through the Darien in the first 10 days of 2023, reports Puro Periodismo. Adam Isacson made charts showing the changes in numbers and nationalities of migrants traveling through the Darien from 2010-2022.
Integration and Development
🇵🇪🇦🇷🇻🇪 Venezuelans in Argentina and Peru
In an interview with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Luisa Feline Freier explains the differences between Argentina’s and Peru’s responses to Venezuelan migration from 2015-2020. She argues, “The main difference is that Argentina has treated Venezuelan immigrants as agents of development, whereas recent Peruvian governments have treated immigration mainly as a national security issue. This is partly because Argentina has a long history of receiving immigrants, more positive public opinion regarding immigration, and more state capacity than Peru,” in addition to receiving fewer Venezuelans overall.
A new executive decree improves access to disability pensions for migrants, reducing the required residency for eligibility from 20 to 10 years, notes CELS.
Panama’s National Migration Service has asserted that it is not considering implementing any form of regularization program for irregular migrants in the country. (El Digital Panama)
🇻🇨 St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is encouraging Nigerian and Ghanaian migrants in the country to regularize their status through a temporary residence, reports St. Vincent Times.
“The great concern for the difficulties that hundreds of immigrants are facing, especially the most vulnerable ones, to regularize their status in the face of a law deemed "inflexible", was expressed by the Chilean Bishops during a meeting with representatives of the state and civil society,” reports Agenzia Fides. (see also Vatican News)
🇨🇴🇻🇪 Venezuelans in Colombia
At Medical Law Review, Stefano Angeleri and Thérèse Murphy examine Colombia’s response to Venezuelan migration and its impact on health equity in the country through a human rights and legal lens. Proyecto Venezuela reports on requirements for access to health care for Venezuelans in Colombia.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
A new paper about Costa Rica in Migration Studies by Adriana R Cardozo Silva and co-authors finds that “on average, there is a significant negative effect of recent immigration on the wages of established immigrants, but no significant effect on the wages of natives over the period from 2012 to 2019.”
“Analyzing in-depth interviews with a diverse sample of migrant mothers in Costa Rica, we investigate how families adjust to the stressors of international displacement,” write Abigail Weitzman and co-authors at the Journal of Family Issues.
🇧🇷🇭🇹 Haitians in Brazil
Heaven Crawley at UNU explores Haitian migration to Brazil and what Lula’s election means for the community there, noting the importance of family reunification.
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
The National Human Rights Commission issued a complaint against the National Migration Institute for failing to carry out its duties and potentially prevent the road accident in December 2021 that killed 56 migrants. (Infobae)
🇺🇸 United States
As of Friday, 10 migrants had entered the US through the Biden’s administration’s new humanitarian parole policy, with a further 600 additionally approved for entry in the coming days, reports CBS. Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at WOLA’s Beyond the Wall weekly update, including further coverage of Biden’s recent policy changes (see last week’s brief).
The Biden administration has expanded and extended TPS for Somali immigrants already in the country, reports CBS.
Haitian passports typically cost about 50 euros, but amid endemic corruption and a rush for passports to access the US Biden administration’s new humanitarian parole policy (see last week’s brief), many are paying more than double the official price in order to informally fast track their passport applications, reports Guadeloupe1.
A Cuban activist in Bolivia was deported two weeks ago, accused of disrupting public order through Twitter posts criticizing the Arce government. He is now seeking asylum in Uruguay. (Página Siete, SwissInfo)
Venezuela, Colombia, and Peru were the leading nationalities of asylum seekers in Spain in 2022, reports Reuters.
Two young men possibly from the Dominican Republic were found dead in the undercarriage of a plane that had traveled from Chile to Colombia, reports TRT World.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Civil society organizations and asylum seekers have criticized Costa Rica’s Refugee Unit for limiting services to just 50 persons per day and causing “disorder,” says Articulo66.
🇨🇺 Cuban Migration
A record number of Cubans are seeking asylum in Brazil, reports Folha.
385 Cubans are currently seeking asylum in the Cayman Islands. This follows an increase in Cuban migration to the country in recent weeks; 16 Cubans were repatriated on January 11. (Cayman News Service, Cayman Compass, last week’s brief)
🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda’s ruling party, the ABLP, has announced that it is removing work permit requirements for CARICOM and Dominican Republic nationals. This comes after the opposition UPP party suggested such a policy ahead of elections on January 18 (Demerara Waves, last week’s brief). At CNW, the country’s Ambassador to the US and OAS, Sir Ronald Sanders, argues that the policy “is a big leap forward, and an example to the region.”
🇺🇸 United States
“Migrant workers who witness or are victims of workplace labor violations can (now) apply for protection from deportation,” reports AP.
Discussing brain drain in Suriname, Zoe Deceuninck at NieuwWij writes that the Netherlands is filling healthcare labor shortages by recruiting workers from Suriname, “but the country is not taking any measures to stop emigration.”
Borders and Enforcement
Chile seeks to reach an agreement with Bolivia to resume the process of returning migrants crossing the border at Tarapacá, reports Timeline. Ex-Ante claims that Venezuelan migration to Chile has increased as a result of increasing violence in Peru and recent US policies to limit access to asylum (see last week’s brief).
Guatemalan police and military have mobilized to the border to halt a migrant caravan that has developed in Honduras, says La Silla Rota.
Of the over 94,000 Guatemalans deported by the US and Mexico in 2022, the majority were from the departments Huehuetenango, San Marcos, Guatemala, Quiché, and Quetzaltenango. (Prensa Libre)
🇩🇴🇭🇹 Haitians in the Dominican Republic
“Almost 162,000 Haitians were sent back by the Dominican Republic during 2022” despite questions about human rights violations against migrants, reports Prensa Latina.
🇦🇼🇨🇼🇧🇶🇻🇪 Venezuela and the ABC Islands
The governments of Venezuela and the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) are set to discuss reopening their borders the week of January 30, reports Tal Cual.
🇧🇸 The Bahamas
“Immigration Minister Keith Bell yesterday defended the government’s efforts in handling irregular migrants amid a significant influx of people from Haiti and Cuba to The Bahamas,” reports The Tribune.
🇻🇪 Venezuelan Migration
R4V has published the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan for 2023-2024 for Venezuelans in the Americas.
Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian writes at Caracas Chronicles a timeline of events related to Venezuelan migration in 2022.
Dinorah Figuera, president of the Venezuelan opposition’s 2015-elected National Assembly, said that the body will maintain its existing mechanisms to assist Venezuelans in the diaspora, reports Crónica Uno. Many have criticized the body for a lack of support for migrants.
"In February 2022, the Civil Registrar's Office eliminated the citizenship identification of hundreds of Colombian-Venezuelan (returnees to Colombia). Most of them were not notified and do not have access to health and education rights,” says Proyecto Venezuela.
At the North American Leaders' Summit, the US, Canada, and Mexico discussed a possible trilateral agreement on migration to promote legal pathways, says Reuters. The US and Canada did announce they “reached a partial resolution over a yearslong border-security dispute that has disrupted plans for business travelers and others who frequently cross the border” with the Nexus trusted traveler program, reports WSJ.
ACAPS published a new report on humanitarian needs in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, highlighting the impact on internal displacement and migration.
The US Virgin Islands is considering making a request “for a visa waiver program allowing Caribbean nationals to visit the territory without a visa,” reports The Virgin Islands Consortium.
🇰🇳 St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Kitts & Nevis makes a pitch for its citizenship by investment (CBI) program at Yahoo, including covering recent changes to the program.
🇺🇸🇭🇳 Honduras and United States
Following high-level meetings last week, the US and Honduras have “reaffirmed their continued commitment to jointly address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement,” including through USAID investments in education and agricultural productivity, according to the State Department.
🇧🇷🇺🇸 United States and Brazil
🇸🇻 El Salvador
Salvadoran migration to Italy began in the 90s and has continued to present day, reports El Salvador. A record number of Salvadorans have left the country under the Bukele administration despite the administration’s claims, says El Salvador Perspectives.
In a change of trends, more individuals exited than entered Uruguay in 2022, according to official records. Many of those leaving the country included foreign-born naturalized Uruguayan citizens, such as those from Argentina, Venezuela, or Cuba, says Prensa Latina.