Americas Migration Brief - January 8, 2024
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
“Despite its varied coverage and the range of tones used in reporting on migration, Chile’s media has generally focused on linking migrants to criminal waves, the saturation of basic services, and increasing unemployment through their inclusion in the workforce,” says Open Global Rights, linking stereotyping to stigmatization and discrimination.
Labor informality is increasingly prevalent for migrants in Chile as they become a greater portion of the labor force, per a Consultora Nómade Asesorías Migratorias report cited by CIEDESS.
“Study reveals important gap in access to social rights of migrant boys and girls in the Biobío region,” including in terms of access to education, health care, and housing. (La Tribuna)
“More than 500 thousand Temporary Protection Permits delivered in 2023 to Venezuelans” (Zona Cero)
🇬🇫 French Guiana
Changes in French immigration law will create new conditions on the formerly automatic transmission of French nationality to those born in the overseas department, particularly for those born to foreign parents, according to France-Guyane.
An XV ENANPEGE article explores integration of migrants in Brazil’s Acre state along the country’s border with Peru and Bolivia.
“Over the period from 2010 to 2019, the employment of (temporary foreign workers) became increasingly concentrated in three sectors that mostly offer low-paying jobs: accommodation and food services; retail trade; and administrative and support, waste management and remediation services,” reports Canadian Immigrant, noting the shift’s relation to “the growing trend of study permit holders seeking employment in these sectors.”
A “temporary measure allowing international students to work unlimited hours while studying has been extended to 30 April 2024,” reports ICEF, adding that “The Canadian government has announced that it is raising the cost-of-living financial requirement for international students applying for a study permit.”
🇺🇸 United States
“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently set up a pre-registration program – pioneered in Brownsville, Texas, and replicated in El Paso and San Ysidro, California – to more quickly process work permits for migrants who present at the border using the CBP One app appointment system,” reports USA Today.
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
“Many migrants claim that their passage through Mexico was more traumatic than crossing the dangerous Darién jungle,” reports Efecto Cocuyo.
Univision highlights protection issues for LGBTQ+ migrants in transit and barriers to their seeking asylum, particularly in the US.
“A group of 32 migrants, including 26 Venezuelans and six Hondurans, who had been kidnapped on Saturday by armed men near the Mexico-United States border were rescued and are ‘safe and sound,’” reports France24.
The migrants will receive humanitarian visas, notes Prensa Latina.
10-15 migrants are currently kidnapped daily in the Mexican border towns of Tamaulipas state, according to Father Francisco Gallardo López. (Milenio)
More than 70,000 migrants were victims of trafficking or kidnapping in Mexico between 2011 and 2021, notes Radio Formula.
There are currently around 380,000 internally displaced persons in Mexico, reports El Universal, noting that the first half of 2023 saw at least 26 internal displacement events due to violence.
“In a year that broke the historical record for refugee requests, reaching 136,934 until November, the head of the Mexican Commission for Aid to Refugees (Comar), Andrés Ramírez Silva, assured that the agency under his charge is at the verge of collapse,” reports La Razón following an interview with the official. He also highlighted increasing Afghan migration and asylum applications, which he predicted will continue in 2024.
Among asylum applications, “There are around 75 percent that no longer appear for various reasons and do not follow the process, but the remaining 25 percent is the real universe with which the refuge issue is concluded. Out of every hundred, there is a resolution rate of 72 percent; That is, the majority receives its complementary protection,” noted Ramírez.
“Human rights attorney and founder of Freedom Imaginaries, Malene Alleyne, has blasted the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) for compromising the process for Haitians seeking refugee status in Jamaica. She argues that being barred from communicating with the asylum seekers affects the lobby group's ability to protect their rights,” reports Radio Jamaica News.
The fifth group of Haitians that landed in Jamaica since July 2023—arriving in the country the last week of 2023—was deported, reports Gleaner.
“The Jamaican police on Wednesday detained six individuals, including children on suspicion of illegal entry into the country. Reports are that the six detainees comprise three adult women and three children from Haiti and Brazil,” says CNW.
Extortion and abuse against migrants in transit by Guatemalan officials is rampant, reports Al Jazeera, adding, “‘To date, there is no real policy from the [state] institutions to stop this abuse. There are no free reporting mechanisms for migrants or possibilities for immediate investigation.’”
🇺🇸 United States
“The U.S. Department of Justice sued Texas on Wednesday over a new state law that allows Texas police to arrest migrants suspected of crossing the Texas-Mexico border illegally,” reports Texas Tribune. “Federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have ruled that immigration laws can only be enforced by the federal government.” (see last week’s AMB)
Meanwhile, the state of New York is also suing Texas over the state’s transportation of asylum seekers, filing a $708 million lawsuit last week, per CBS.
Under the US Safe Mobility Offices program which works with migrants located in Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Ecuador, “So far, 3,000 refugees have arrived in the U.S., and 9,000 have been approved. But it's a small number compared with what's happening at the U.S.-Mexico border, where there were more than 10,000 arrests for illegal crossing per day over several days in December alone,” reports ABC.
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
🇺🇾🇺🇸 United States and Uruguay
The US and Uruguay have signed a memorandum of cooperation to facilitate information sharing, particularly of biometric data—the first phase in a process to consider exempting Uruguayans from requiring visas to travel to the US, according to Infobae.
🇺🇾🇦🇷 Argentina and Uruguay
“Argentina resumes joint border controls on river travel from Uruguay” (MercoPress)
“Last year, nearly 12,000 workers travelled from Mexico, Guatemala and across the world to work on (British Columbia) farms. Every one of them had a chunk of their paycheque deducted to cover employment insurance premiums. But unlike workers based in Canada, migrant farmworkers can almost never claim that money once their contracts are up and they are no longer working. And now, migrant farmworkers are trying to sue the federal government, claiming they’re owed hundreds of millions in damages,” reports The Tyee.
Migrants in Transit
“A record 520,000 migrants crossed the treacherous jungle between Colombia and Panama known as the Darien Gap in 2023, more than double the number reported the year before,” reports Reuters.
“While migrants from African nations still represent a small share of the people crossing the (US) southern border, their numbers have been surging, as smuggling networks in the Americas open new markets and capitalize on intensifying anti-immigrant sentiment in some corners of Europe,” reports New York Times.
10 Cuban migrants attempting to arrive to the US by sea were steered off course by bad weather and landed in Jamaica, where they are now charged with illegal entry, reports Gleaner.
“From November 11 to December 31, 2023, a total of 25,895 foreign citizens voluntarily left Peru through the northern border, having not regularized their immigration status” prior to the end of the country’s regularization program period, says Andina. (see AMB 12/4/23)
“Thousands of people from a 4,000-strong migrant caravan that has been crossing southern Mexico by foot since Christmas Eve dispersed on Tuesday as they boarded buses to processing centers where they are expected to apply for travel permits,” reports Reuters. (see AMB 12/25/23)
🇺🇸 United States
“Groups of desperate people fleeing Cuba have landed at least twice this week in the Florida Keys — the latest seasonal uptick of migrants willing to risk their lives in rickety vessels for a shot at freedom in the United States. But, for now at least, arrivals in December and the first days of January are down dramatically from the previous holiday season,” reports Miami Herald.
There is an 80% chance that “Migrant apprehensions in the US remain above 125,000 per month in Q4 2024,” predicts James Bosworth at the Latin America Risk Report, explaining, “December 2023 saw over 225,000 migrants apprehended by CBP, the highest number in 25 years of record keeping. While 125k may seem like a low number by that standard, it's incredibly high by historic standards. It suggests ongoing crises throughout the hemisphere pushing people to flee to the US. It would take a relatively big shift in migration trends to move the number back down to the averages of the 2010s.”
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
Haitians attempting to cross the land border into the Dominican Republic to then take flights out of Dominican airports are forced to pay bribes to receive visa stamps, reports Diario Libre.
Borders and Enforcement
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic deported more than 250,000 irregular migrants in 2023, reports El Caribe.
Americas Quarterly profiles candidates for the Dominican Republic’s upcoming presidential election, noting that Abel Martínez is running on a platform of hardline immigration policy.
I identified elections—including that of the Dominican Republic—as an important factor for 2024’s outlook in an end of year special edition of the AMB.
🇺🇸 United States
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported more than 142,000 immigrants in fiscal year 2023, nearly double the number from the year before,” reports Washington Post.
“Latin America’s Fertility Decline is Accelerating” (Americas Quarterly)
🇺🇸 United States
“The latest Census Bureau statistics show that a continued uptick in immigration is the main driver of the modest U.S. population growth rate, as the nation attempts to rebound from the historic lows of the COVID-19 pandemic period,” notes Brookings.
More on Migration
IMI’s 2024 Citizenship by Investment Transparency Index analyzes said programs across the globe, including in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia.
🇺🇸 United States
The ambiguous use of “not” and “or” in one law may give “hundreds… of immigrants another chance to avoid deportation,” per NYU.
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