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Americas Migration Brief - July 31, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
A new IOM report explores access to health care for displaced women and adolescent Salvadorans and Hondurans. Findings include that in Honduras, “25% of women returnees were unable to access a private room or toilet for proper menstrual hygiene.”
An event in Bogotá, Colombia last week with participation from mayorships from six countries across the Americas highlighted the opportunities and experiences of local cities in promoting immigrant integration. (EFE)
“Amid the intensification of climate change and burgeoning possibilities for economic development, the expansion of free movement offers an opportunity for greater integration within Caricom and the Caribbean more widely. Obstacles to implementation remain, but this month’s announcement maintains the potential to become a watershed moment for the region,” I write in a special edition of the Americas Migration Brief on free movement in the Caribbean.
In a speech on Peru’s Independence Day last week, President Dina Boluarte cast some foreigners in the country as criminals and called for a change to the country’s legal code to greater facilitate deportations. Boluarte also noted that once Peru’s current deadline to apply for temporary regularization passes on October 28, there would be no further regularizations and the country would look to deport irregular migrants.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
From August 2023-August 2024, “Refugees and asylum seekers from Nicaragua and other nationalities may have access to the health services offered by the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS),” reports 100%Noticias.
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
“A new study from the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing found that barriers, including poverty, low health literacy, cultural beliefs, lack of infrastructure and political issues, all work together to hinder diabetes self-management for Haitian migrants working in sugar cane fields in the Dominican Republic.” (press release)
“The Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled that the country's universities should not deny access to Venezuelan migrants who wish to study at that institution and recalled that access to the educational system must be given under equal conditions,” reports Diario Las Americas.
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago
Venezuelans that took part in Trinidad and Tobago’s 2019 regularization program renewed their work permits last week by submitting new up to date identification documents. However, “Some Venezuelans who have been here for several years but have lost their documents were unable to renew them because they cannot return to their country to get replacements,” notes Newsday
“A worrying stat from a new Cadem poll on Chile's draft constitution, to be finalized and voted on later this year: ‘46% support the idea that the children of immigrants who are in an irregular situation are not considered Chileans.’ This is how you manufacture statelessness,” I commented on Twitter last week. The poll is available here.
Juan Pablo Ramaciotti highlights on Twitter findings from the Casen 2022 survey, including that “There is a higher incidence of extreme and non-extreme poverty in the case of people born outside of Chile than those born in the country.”
Despite the benefits of legal gay marriage and access to free healthcare, LGBT Venezuelan migrants in Ecuador face both xenophobia and homophobia, says The World.
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
At least 10 Venezuelan migrants died during a bus accident in Colombia while beginning a trek en route to the United States, according to TalCual.
Mexico “received almost 75,000 asylum applications in the first half of the year and expects to close with an unprecedented figure of 150,000, according to (the Refugee Commission’s) head, Andrés Ramírez… But the official acknowledged that the budget is insufficient and that is why there are delays in the processing of petitions,” reports Infobae.
Mexican National Guard members “fired into the air to disperse a group of migrants who were spending the night under the Paso del Norte International Bridge, a few meters from the border with the United States,” reports Pie de Página.
🇺🇸 United States
More than 38,000 Cubans, 63,000 Haitians, 29,500 Nicaraguans, and 58,000 Venezuelans have been approved for humanitarian parole pathways, per a DHS press release.
Al Jazeera highlights the differentiated needs of Indigenous asylum seekers arriving at the US border, noting, “the obstacles they face – from language barriers to discrimination and violence – have gone largely unrecognised in conversations about immigration,” and adding that the CBP One app lacks Indigenous language options.
WOLA’s Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at the Beyond the Wall weekly update, explaining that “Mexico’s migrant apprehensions broke records in June,” and that “A federal judge has vacated the Biden administration’s two-month-old rule restricting access to asylum for many migrants at the border. The rule, which puts asylum out of reach for migrants who don’t make an appointment or first seek it in another country en route, went into effect after the Title 42 policy’s termination.”
SwissInfo notes that Biden administration officials have indicated that they will appeal the ruling and will do so up to the Supreme Court if necessary.
Amid a public controversy and following initial deportation plans, Jamaica will process the asylum applications of 37 Haitians that irregularly entered the country earlier this month. (IrieFM, last week’s AMB)
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
IOM has published their first ever Strategy for the Caribbean. IOM also published a new data report on Caribbean migration. Findings include nearly 10 million emigrants from the region worldwide and 1.6 million immigrants within the region, as well as that “Haitian and Cuban migrants journeying northward through Central America are increasingly arriving to Mexico as a country of destination rather than simply as a transit point.”
US Regional Processing Centers “located in Guatemala and Colombia have registered close to 18,000 people, the majority of applicants being Venezuelan nationals,” reports 100%Noticias, adding that Costa Rica has referred over 250 total Nicaraguans and Venezuelans to the US Refugee admissions program and a further 200 for admission to Spain.
US, Mexican, and Canadian officials met last week to discuss migration cooperation, among other topics, reports Forbes. Following US-Mexico bilateral meetings, also held last week, the two countries committed to further coordination and to “further expand the availability of legal pathways throughout the region, including to Mexico and the United States,” per a press release.
Following the bilateral meeting, “The U.S. government announced Friday that it would take referrals of Haitian, Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan citizens from Mexico for possible resettlement as refugees in the United States. Mexico announced earlier… that it would set up a service center offering jobs and resettlement for people from those four countries. It said the center would be on the southern border with Guatemala but did not specify where or when it would open,” reports VOA.
“In Mexico there is still a lack of a comprehensive vision of what the country wants from migration,” says MPI president Andrew Selee at El Universal.
🇵🇦🇨🇷 Costa Rica and Panama
Costa Rican and Panamanian officials met last week to discuss migration and border communities. (Prensa Latina)
🇪🇨🇨🇴 Colombia and Ecuador
Colombia and Ecuador signed an agreement to reinforce border security and combat irregular migration, among other commitments. (SwissInfo)
🇺🇸 United States
“There's simply no way to avoid the reality that our economy needs more workers. The skilled labor shortage is real. In the building trades, for example, one in four contractors is 55 or older. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says there are 9.9 million job openings in the U.S. but only 5.8 million unemployed workers. Meanwhile, net migration into the U.S. is the lowest it’s been in decades,” writes Lumina Foundation CEO Jamie Merisotis at Forbes.
A lack of workers is leading Honduran coffee plantations to recruit Guatemalan laborers, notes RadioHrn.
“The Barbados Nurses Association (BNA) is deeply concerned about the rate at which local nurses are leaving the island to take up jobs overseas,” reports Barbados Today.
Migrants in Transit
“Climate disruptions are making younger Hondurans, and particularly young women, more likely to migrate to the U.S. in search of a better life,” reports NPR. In Bolivia, meanwhile, a drought is causing expected emigration from rural San Pedro de Buena Vista to Bolivian cities, as well as to other countries such as Argentina and Chile, to a lesser degree, says El Potosí.
🇧🇸 The Bahamas
The Washington Post dives into maritime migrant smuggling from the Bahamas to Florida, explaining that the country’s tourism industry helps provide cover for migrants in transit, while loose visa restrictions allow for migrants from across the world to use the country as a stepping stone.
The number of migrants setting out to cross the Darien Gap from the Colombian side has doubled in the last month from a daily average of 1,000 to 2,000, according to Colombian officials. (El Heraldo)
🇺🇸 United States
“The number of migrant families with children crossing the southern border has nearly tripled in the past two months,” reports NBC.
“The Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) will begin issuing invitations under the family reunification parole (FRP) processes for Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras on July 31, 2023.” (press release)
“In the first three months of 2023, a record 51,838 Venezuelan migrants and refugees entered Brazil. This is the highest number ever recorded in the first three months of the year since 2020,” reports Diálogo Americas.
Borders and Enforcement
The migration economy in the Darien Gap is “extortionary for migrants, but profitable for those they encounter along the way,” although it’s unclear where the profits end up, with organized crime and corruption playing a part, says Will Freeman at Americas Quarterly, arguing, “Ultimately, the restrictive immigration policies of the United States are the root cause of Latin America’s new, predatory multinational business.”
🇺🇸 United States
National Immigrant Justice Center critiques the US Senate Appropriations Committee’s funding priorities for DHS, saying that it focuses too heavily on enforcement measures and detention. Furthermore, funding was decreased for the “Shelter and Services Program, a key grant program that supports localities and non-governmental organizations providing respite and social services to people arriving at the border to seek safety.”
Axios reports on budget shortfalls at DHS.
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
“Representatives of social organizations representing the Haitian community in the Dominican Republic held a press conference and accused the authorities of manipulating migration figures to portray a higher migratory flow than what actually exists. They emphasized the need for accurate and transparent data on the number of Haitian nationals residing in the country, which they estimated to be around 600,000 people, based on recent flows.” (Dominican Today)
🇧🇶 Caribbean Netherlands
The Dutch statistics agency published a new report on demographic trends in the Caribbean Netherlands. (press release)
More on Migration
🇺🇸 United States