Discover more from Americas Migration Brief
Americas Migration Brief - June 12, 2023
Welcome to the Americas Migration Brief! If you find this newsletter useful, please consider sharing with a friend or colleague.
Se puede acceder aquí a una versión en español del boletín traducida por inteligencia artificial.
Consulte aqui uma versão em português do boletim traduzida por inteligência artificial.
Table of Contents
Integration and Development
“The efforts of documentation of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean should be enhanced to ensure their integration in host countries and prevent the increase of irregular movements in the Americas,” say UNHCR and IOM.
Civil society organizations across the Americas are calling for improving access to regularization for migrants in the region. (statement)
“Canada’s efforts to increase immigration are meeting a mixed response in Quebec, where provincial identity has long been perceived as under threat,” writes François Rocher at Migration Information Source, looking at immigration policy in the province and the country.
Meanwhile, Rewmi highlights the struggles of Francophone African students to acquire visas to study in Canada despite being accepted by universities in Quebec.
“Colombia changed the rules for getting work visas, and now many migrant tech workers risk having to leave the country,” reports Rest of World, identifying Venezuelans as key to the country’s tech industry.
El Espectador reports on calls for a greater gender focus on migration policy in Colombia.
Semana reports on a new government program to help match migrants with formal employment opportunities.
The “Colombia nos une” program provides services to Colombian returnees from Venezuela and works to address gaps in their knowledge of what rights and services they have access to. (Uniminuto Radio)
A new IOM study explores food insecurity among Venezuelans in Peru and their difficulty in accessing social programs.
A new Jesuit Migrant Service report explores migration in Chile over the last five years, covering topics such as integration, protection, and the numbers of migration.
“The National Institute of Migration (INM) of Baja California will help migrants who are part of the Tijuana-San Ysidro border camp to regularize their stay in Mexico while they are waiting to be called to start the process of US humanitarian asylum.” (El Imparcial)
On Cuba News discusses the situation of Cubans in Uruguay and the different possible paths to regularization in the country.
Panama is extending visa renewal deadlines to incentivize regularization, says Fragomen.
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
Sandra Álvarez Orozco of Sin Fronteras writes at Animal Politico about the role of climate change and environmental disasters in causing displacement in the Americas.
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago
“A Venezuelan migrant said she was beaten and raped by Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard personnel while detained at the Heliport Immigration Station in Chaguaramas… The accusation adds to ‘disturbing reports’ of ongoing sexual abuse of women detained at the heliport by administrative staff,” writes Jordana Timerman at Just Caribbean Updates.
“UNHCR says refugees and asylum-seekers in TT continue to be vulnerable to abuse and exploitation and experience a host of problems,” reports Newsday.
More than 165,000 Haitians are currently internally displaced as a result of violence in the country, says IOM, adding that a further 13,000 were displaced by a magnitude 4.9 earthquake last week.
🇺🇸 United States
112 civil, human rights, faith-based, and immigration groups wrote to the Biden administration, calling on them “to immediately cease conducting credible fear interviews (CFIs) in CBP custody.”
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus asked the Biden administration to extend TPS to Nicaraguans, Hondurans, and Salvadorans, reports La Prensa. Advocates are also calling for TPS for the Democratic Republic of Congo, notes Washington Informer.
“An internal investigation into the death of a medically vulnerable eight-year-old girl after over a week in Border Patrol custody continues to reveal shocking negligence on the part of medical contractors and Border Patrol employees,” writes Dara Lind at Immigration Impact.
Canada’s private refugee sponsorship program “is hindered by red tape at a time when Canada is ramping up its ambition to resettle those displaced by conflict,” says The Globe and Mail, noting that “Applicants – and their Canadian sponsors – can expect to wait anywhere between two and five years to be processed.”
“Canada is partnering with non-profit organization Rainbow Railroad to protect LGBTQI+ refugees and welcome them to Canada. Through this partnership, Rainbow Railroad will work to identify LGBTQI+ people and their families who are fleeing violence and persecution, and refer them to the Government of Canada for resettlement under the Government-Assisted Refugees Program.” (press release)
UNHCR, IACHR, and Uruguay’s Human Rights Ombudsman held a workshop on statelessness and Uruguayan naturalized citizens living without nationality, among other topics. (press release)
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
The US Regional Processing Centers to be opened on June 12 in Guatemala, called Movilidad Segura, will be run UNHCR and IOM and will require scheduled appointments by applicants, reports AP. (see last week’s AMB)
US and Colombian officials met last week, setting the date of June 19 to begin the “initial six-month implementation phase” of the US Regional Processing Centers in Colombia. (press release)
There will be 8 centers in Colombia and Guatemala each, reports CNN.
Mexican officials, however, have indicated that they will not allow similar centers to be set up in their country, notes El Sol de Mexico.
🇬🇹🇺🇸 United States and Guatemala
“For months, top Biden officials have (been) trying to find a way to pay Guatemala to help its government deport more Venezuelans before they migrate into Mexico or the U.S.,” reports Axios, explaining that the plan has been blocked by US Senator Bob Menendez.
🇵🇪🇨🇱 Chile and Peru
Members of Congress of Chile and Peru met last week and called for greater coordination on migration policy and a humanitarian corridor between the two countries. (BioBioChile)
🇦🇪🇨🇦 Canada and UAE
“A new international agreement between Canada and the UAE will guarantee safe passage for Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban. Under its deal with the UAE, Canada will resettle up to 1,000 Afghan nationals who were evacuated from Afghanistan following the fall of Kabul and are currently in the UAE.” (Canada Immigration News)
🇮🇳🇸🇷 Suriname and India
“India will expand the eligibility criteria for the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card… This expansion will now encompass original Indian immigrants in Suriname, extending from the fourth generation to the sixth generation.” (NRI Affairs)
🇲🇽🇨🇴 Colombia and Mexico
“Given the frequent complaints of abuses against Colombian tourists and migrants at airports and immigration stations,” Mexican and Colombian officials met last week “to address the issue of migration between the two countries,” reports Informador.
Idealex explores labor migration in Chile and the importance of compliance.
Migrants in Transit
“U.N. officials tell NPR that before the (US’s new border enforcement rules) took hold on May 11, between 1,000 and 1,500 migrants were crossing the Darien Jungle every day. Now, they say, that number has dropped to between 500 and 700,” reports NPR, adding, “this lull may be temporary because the factors driving migration are getting worse across much of South America, says César Zúñiga, who is in charge of emergency management for the Necoclí town government.”
Prensa Latina, meanwhile, says that 800 to 1,000 migrants currently pass through the Darien daily, according to Panamanian officials.
The Diplomat reports on Chinese migration across the Americas, often beginning in Ecuador en route to the US, explaining, “the Chinese exodus is driven by a combination of economic uncertainties and limited personal freedoms.”
IOM has published new DTMs on migration in Mexico (Juarez, Tapachula1, Tapachula2, Tenosique1, Tenosique2, Tijuana), Costa Rica, and Haiti. R4V also published a survey of Venezuelan migrants exiting Brazil through Pacaraima.
“The collapse of the rural economy in Colombia's coca growing areas” is causing internal displacement and migration, says International Crisis Group’s Elizabeth Dickinson on Twitter.
Cuban migrants are increasingly using Bosnia and Herzegovina and other Eastern European countries as an entry point to the EU, with over 700 currently stranded in Bosnia. There is also a group of six Cubans stranded at the Belarus-Poland border after leaving Russia. (Diario de Cuba, On Cuba News, CiberCuba)
29% of surveyed Guatemalans 18-30 years old intend to emigrate within 12 months, reports La Hora.
🇸🇻 El Salvador
Irregular migration from El Salvador to the US has decreased 40%, reports Infobae.
Borders and Enforcement
“Narratives around enforcement have become pervasive, with Central American governments caught between demands to restrict irregular migration and obligations toward their own citizens.” At the same time, “Government narratives that aim to deter migration are often misaligned with migrants’ own reasons for leaving,” according to a new MPI, RAND, Metropolitan Group, and National Immigration Forum report on migration narratives in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Given the role of narratives, the US’s planned regional processing centers in Guatemala will take time to take hold because they will require trust building with migrants, said MPI’s Ariel Ruiz at the report launch event.
“Amid a stagnant legislative framework, the Executive Branch has had to be creative to develop policy and respond to migration,” I write at Global Americans, comparing the Trump and Biden administration’s regional approaches.
An Ipsos study of 29 countries globally found that 47% of Chileans were concerned about immigration control—the most among surveyed countries. Of those surveyed in the Americas, Chile was followed by Peru (18%), the US (17%), Colombia (5%), and Brazil and Argentina (1% each). (La Tercera)
🇺🇸 United States
The Border Chronicle explores the “Border-Industrial Complex” and the use of drones, AI, biometrics, and more at the US-Mexico border.
Canada is introducing visa-free travel for travelers from 13 countries—including Panama, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, Costa Rica, Uruguay—who “have either held a Canadian visa in the last 10 years or who currently hold a valid United States non-immigrant visa.” (CIC News)
The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in Guyana is calling for similar visa exemptions for Guyanese nationals, notes Loop.
Nearly 700 Indian students who “were unknowingly defrauded by immigrant consultants who used inauthentic college admission letters for their student visa applications” are now facing deportation, reports Business Standard, noting that officials are “actively pursuing a solution” for the students.
🇧🇸 The Bahamas
Bahamian officials detained migrants from Ecuador, Italy, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Brazil that were attempting to migrate irregularly by sea, reports Primicias.
🇹🇨 Turks and Caicos
🇻🇪🇨🇴 Colombia and Venezuela
With the Colombia-Venezuela border reopened, migrants use the trochas (informal crossings) much less frequently, and there is less humanitarian infrastructure at the Cúcuta-Villa del Rosario border region. But “even if some dynamics have changed with the reopening of the border, the humanitarian needs of the population coming from Venezuela remain critical,” writes Laura Dib of WOLA.
Last week, a bill was proposed in the Chilean legislature to establish the punishment of imprisonment for migrants who irregularly re-enter the country following deportation. (InfoMigra)
Chilean officials have clarified that the biometric registration of irregular migrants is not to regularize their status but rather to simply “obtain (them) a valid identity in Chile, even to expel them,” reports InfoMigra. (see last week’s AMB)
Last week, Ecuador’s National Police “began to carry out intensified immigration control operations throughout the country to gather information on people who transit irregularly.” (La República)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rica has expanded air transit visa requirements for several new nationalities, primarily from Africa. (Fragomen)
🇺🇸 United States
Econofact explores the data on migration of Central American minors to the US.
More on Migration
A new UNODC report on illicit financial flows in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Ecuador, Maldives, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, and Peru “estimates that the smuggling of foreign irregular migrants to the United States generated over $1.1 billion in inward IFFs per year from 2016 to 2018 for smugglers based in Mexico,” among other findings.
Responding to irregular migration through the Darien Gap has cost Panama about $65 million over four years, reports La Prensa.
Last week, Argentina upped the minimum salary required to obtain residency in the country based on independent personal means, report Clarín, noting that the situation has sparked ire from some in the country that will now not benefit from the program.
A record $1.8 billion in remittances were sent to Guatemala in May. (SwissInfo)