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Americas Migration Brief - June 5, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
Between May 2nd and 29th, at least 1.2 million (of 1.6 million total) Venezuelans in Peru regularized their status in the country, reports El Diario, adding that over 50,000 have also benefited from an amnesty on fines for not having valid documentation.
Ecuador will provide an amnesty to Venezuelans that entered the country through irregular channels, allowing them to access the country’s regularization program for Venezuelans and apply for a two-year visa, the Virte. (SwissInfo, Efecto Cocuyo)
28.8% of immigrants 15+ years old in Mexico reported discrimination in 2022, notes Animal Político.
“A group of Haitian migrants, who are again sleeping in a temporary camp on the street, marched (last) Monday in the Mexican capital to demand work permits and facilities that allow them to live in decent conditions,” reports Diario Libre. Later in the week, officials arrived at the Plaza Giordano Bruno to relocate migrants camping out there, notes Publimetro.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Público reports on Nicaraguan immigrants struggling to access health services in Costa Rica.
“Although 68% [of surveyed Chileans] consider that migrating is a human right, only 41% consider that the State has an obligation to provide health or education services to the migrant population,” according to a new Ipsos poll. 84% mentioned concerns in relation to migration and the increase of crime and public insecurity.
18% of enrolled students in public schools are Venezuelan in Boa Vista, the capital of Brazil’s Roraima state. (Roraima em Foco)
InSight Crime highlights La Pista, an informal settlement of mainly displaced Venezuelans and Colombian returnees near Maicao, Colombia, noting that it “has grown into a vast settlement of more than 13,000 people, many of whom have fled armed groups” in Venezuela. One resident reported, “The police don't come to knock down our houses or threaten us anymore. But if we need their help -- if there is a fight or disorder -- and we call them, they tell us to go back to our country.”
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
Social media is often used to capture human and sex trafficking victims, per Mulier Venezuela. (Crónica Uno)
Bloomberg reports on forced displacement and protection needs caused by climate change in Latin America, highlighting the cases of Barranquilla, Colombia and La Palma, El Salvador.
“According to the Colombian attorney general’s office, 288 Venezuelans have been reported as victims of forced disappearances in Colombia since 2015, reports Al Jazeera.” (via Latin America Daily Briefing)
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
SwissInfo reports on a story of Dominican officials leaving a Haitian child dangerously hanging on to the outside bars of a moving government vehicle, while Proyecto Trato Digno reports on armed Dominican immigration raids in the middle of the night that also detained individuals with documentation of Dominican nationality, demanding a bribe to be let free.
Multiple recorded deaths in the Darien Gap last week: a Venezuelan woman who drank contaminated water, 10 migrants who drowned amid rising water levels, and three armed men who were robbing migrants along the path. (Crítica, Telemetro, Independent)
“Mexico is launching a new app to speed up its asylum process amid record levels of asylum seekers, even after a similar US app came under fierce criticism for glitches and difficulty of use… The new app – called simply the “pre-registration system” – will allow individuals to register their intent to seek asylum online and is hoped to speed up processing. It is expected to launch next week in Mexico City only, with other areas expected to be added at a later date,” reports CNN, noting that “unlike the (US’s) CBP One app, (Mexico’s) app allows individuals to apply from inside Mexican territory.”
This May, Mexico “registered 64,462 applicants for refugee status, 30.5% more than at the end of May 2022, a previous record,” writes Refugee Commission (Comar) head Andrés Ramírez on Twitter.
For the first time ever, more of these applications are being made in Mexico City than in Tapachula, says Milenio.
🇺🇸 United States
“The Biden administration is planning to dramatically expand the processing of asylum-seekers along the U.S.-Mexico border by admitting nearly 40,000 migrants at official crossings each month,” or 1,250 appointments per day through the CBP One app, reports CBS.
A new Strauss Center report on asylum processing during May finds that “In the week after Title 42 ended, CBP reported processing an average of 1,070 people a day through CBP One appointments,” while in some cases organized crime have sought to charge migrants to access ports of entry.
“The lack of adequate interpretation and translation services for asylum-seekers who are not proficient in English impedes their ability to navigate the complex immigration system,” says a new Center for American Progress report, adding, for example, that “Cases have been documented in which CBP officials have wrongfully assumed that Indigenous language speakers from majority Spanish-speaking countries speak Spanish” and that “There is also a shortage of interpreters for languages that are not commonly spoken by migrants.”
Afghans who fled the Taliban and have received humanitarian parole in the US “are calling for Congress to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would allow them to seek more permanent status.” (The World)
WOLA’s Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at the Beyond the Wall weekly update, explaining “Very preliminary data indicate that, following a sharp fall in the days after the Title 42 policy’s end, numbers of U.S.-bound migrants have either flattened out or begun to increase again. Shelters are full in much of Mexico, meanwhile, where authorities continue to move large numbers of migrants toward the country’s southern border.”
“Threats and legal pressures against independent voices have only intensified” in Guatemala, leading “many journalists, lawyers and anti-corruption prosecutors to flee in recent years,” according to Americas Quarterly.
La Vanguardia highlights violence-induced displacement of indigenous Moskito Hondurans looking to seek asylum in the US, but currently stranded in Tijuana, Mexico, labeling them “the silently displaced of Central American emigration.”
1,878 Hondurans died en route to migrating to the US between 2017-2022. (La Prensa)
Asylum applications in Brazil increased 73% between 2022 and 2021, with nearly 70% of applications from Venezuelans. (Globo)
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
Two decades after the signing of the Mercosur residency agreement, CAREF and CELS have published a report on the implementation of the agreement and efforts to promote free mobility among Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay—including during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following high-level meetings between US and Guatemalan officials last week, the two countries announced that the first regional processing centers—dubbed “Oficinas de Movilidad Segura”—will be opened in Guatemala in a six-month pilot beginning June 12. (joint statement)
“A spokesperson for the UNHCR tells The Progressive that there is not much information currently available about how the offices will work, or where they will be located. However, a spokesperson for President Giammattei stated on Thursday that the locations will be along the country’s border.”
Niskanen Center explores “how regional processing centers should change the future of migration,” comparing the idea to the DMV and highlighting the importance of coordination and adaptability, among other takeaways.
🇲🇽🇺🇲 United States and Mexico
Cato Institute explores the potential of coordinating temporary humanitarian entry for migrants in the US and Mexico, arguing that “A better approach [to the current status quo] would have Mexico authorize migrants to travel to Mexico City to request U.S. parole there, enabling them to fly to the United States legally without burdening northern Mexico cities or the U.S. side of the border.”
🇮🇳🇸🇷 Suriname and India
Suriname and India may discuss irregular migration of Indians to Suriname at their Joint Commission meetings later this year, reports Mint, noting Suriname’s recent move to impose visa restrictions on Indians due to their growing use of the country for transit migration en route to the US. (see AMB 4/24/23)
Canada has signed a new agreement with Finland and an updated agreement with South Korea to facilitate youth travel and temporary labor migration, reports Fragomen.
Canada will launch a pilot program to accept 100 temporary Mexican migrants to work in the British Columbia hotel industry. (press release)
“An activist group fighting for migrant farmworkers is worried that a report by a Jamaican fact-finding team ignores the concerns of many seasonal workers” in Canada, reports Yahoo. (see also Jamaica Observer)
“The high level of technology used in the farms and the sector’s impressive results stand in stark contrast with the labor conditions of its poorly paid migrant workforce,” reports Brazilian Report in an exposé on Brazil’s fruit exports industry.
Migrants in Transit
“The National Congress of Honduras approved the extension of the migratory amnesty until January 1, 2024, with the purpose that migrants transiting the country nowadays do not pay any penalty,” reports Prensa Latina.
A new WOLA report explores the state of migration in Honduras, writing, “For migrants transiting Honduras, the country is a “respiro”—a place to catch one’s breath—or even a “sandwich” between arduous and unwelcoming journeys before (Darién Gap, Nicaragua) and after (Guatemala, Mexico),” and arguing that the transit migration fine amnesty should be made permanent and emulated by neighbors.
“A record 25,431 children and teens, both accompanied and unaccompanied, entered Panama through the Darien Gap between January and April,” reports Reuters, noting that “The sharp rise in minor crossings marks an eight-fold increase compared to the same four-month period last year.”
El Espectador highlights transit migration through Colombia’s San Andrés island to evade the Darien Gap, explaining the risks of drowning at sea and the role of transnational organized crime groups in running smuggling rings.
Restricting migration of Venezuelans through Chile’s northern border caused “the entry of unaccompanied foreign children and adolescents through unauthorized passes,” according to a Simbiótica report exploring the Chilean government’s response to these unaccompanied minors, which they find to be insufficient in responding to their protection needs. (via Forced Migration Current Awareness)
Emigration of Ecuadorians from Quito has increased as a result of poor economic conditions and employment opportunities, reports La Hora, noting “In Quito, 2 out of 10 households report that at least one member of their family has left the country for work or economic reasons.”
Borders and Enforcement
President Boric has announced that his government will present a new bill to establish a National Migration Policy later this month. The bill “will be based on a responsible approach to security and respect for human rights,” with a focus on immigrant documentation and border enforcement. Later this month, the government will also begin a process of biometric registration of irregular migrants. (La Tercera, BioBioChile)
Under the “Shield” campaign, “Panamanian security authorities announced it will dedicate some 1,200 immigration agents, border police and members of the naval air service to what they said will be a air, land and sea effort to take on organized criminal groups smuggling migrants, drugs and guns through the Darien jungle,” reports AP.
“In the first five months (October 2022 to March 2023) of the Democratic Memory Law, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has received a total of 51,040 applications to acquire Spanish nationality, especially in the consulates that are in Latin American countries, such as Cuba and Argentina.” (Periódico Cubano)
🇪🇸🇭🇳 Honduras and Spain
An average of 110 Hondurans moved to Spain per day in the first three months of 2023, reports El Heraldo, noting that this is driven in part by family reunification.
🇺🇾🇦🇷 Argentina and Uruguay
Uruguayans are increasingly migrating to Argentina for study, reports El País.
“Curaçao’s population has been on a downward trend for the last six years, decreasing by 7 percent,” with an aging population and low fertility, reports Global Americans, adding, “about 20 percent more people have emigrated from Curaçao than in 2011. Immigration into the country during the same period has decreased by 30 percent, creating a net-negative flow of migrants.”
More on Migration
Canada has launched a “category-based selection for Canada’s flagship economic immigration management system, Express Entry. Category-based selection will allow Canada to issue invitations to apply to prospective permanent residents with specific skills, training or language ability.” (press release)
There are between 80 to 90 thousand Venezuelans living in Buenos Aires that are eligible to vote in Argentina’s upcoming elections, and the JxC opposition coalition is looking to court their votes, says Infobae.
🇰🇳 St. Kitts and Nevis
“St. Kitts and Nevis boasts a strong economy but there are serious concerns that its laws do not go far enough to minimize or stamp out corruption and corrupt practices, according to the Caribbean Investigative Journalism Network in a piece on the country’s Citizen by Investment Programme. Attempts are now being made to remedy that situation through legislative amendments but progress is slow,” writes Jordana Timerman at Just Caribbean Updates.