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Americas Migration Brief - March 27, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
To better facilitate access to regularization, Peru is granting an amnesty on fines doled out for exceeding one’s permitted time of stay in the country. Almost 100,000 Venezuelan immigrants benefit from the amnesty, with some fines having reached over $2,000, according to El Pitazo.
Paraguay is set to begin a regularization program for those that entered the country between 2019 and 2022, according to a news release.
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
The Dominican government has denied rumors that suggested that the country would begin a new regularization program for Venezuelans in the country, according to a news release.
Ecuador has opened up the country’s regularization program to include migrants of all nationalities—not just Venezuelans. Requirements include having entered the country regularly through an official port of entry prior to September 16, 2022, reports Primicias.
Redacción highlights the struggles to conduct business and pursue entrepreneurship for Venezuelans that haven’t yet been able to regularize their status.
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago
IOM surveyed 1,323 Venezuelan immigrants in Trinidad and Tobago between November and December 2022, finding that 90% had been in the country for over a year but that 57.4% were in an irregular status. Other findings include that 81% of respondents send remittances to Venezuela—71% through informal means—and that 59.5% and 10.2% are employed and self-employed, respectively.
Work permits granted through Trinidad and Tobago’s 2019 regularization of Venezuelan immigrants are expired as the country has yet to implement the extension announced this January; 13,000 Venezuelans are affected, according to Bloomberg.
IOM surveyed 5,185 Venezuelan immigrants across all 15 municipalities in Roraima state between November and December 2022, finding that 95% intended to stay in Brazil, 77% had arrived to the country before 2022, and just 2.2% were in an irregular status, among other findings. (news release here)
IOM highlights its Mobile Health Units to “(help) bring medical assistance to Venezuelan indigenous people and their host communities” in rural Brazil.
EFE highlights stories of Venezuelan migrants finding work and integrating in Ciudad Juárez while awaiting the opportunity to migrate to the US.
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
🇺🇸🇨🇦 Canada and United States
On March 24th, the US and Canada announced an update to the two countries’ “Safe Third Country Agreement” to close a loophole that was allowing asylum-seeking immigrants to enter either country outside of official ports of entry, most controversially to enter Canada’s Quebec province from New York state through Roxham Road (AP, Reuters). But advocates are concerned that the agreement will just push immigrants to take riskier routes to avoid detection, reports CBC. Migration Policy Institute’s Susan Fratzke explains the agreement further on Twitter, noting, “In the short-term, the Canadian government hopes it will end crossings at Roxham… Medium term, however, there is a real risk that the new agreement pushes people into more remote (and unsafe) parts of the border… This also potentially means a greater role of smugglers in facilitating crossings.”
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago
“As of April 1, the Living Water Community (LWC) will stop pre-registering people seeking asylum in TT. Instead, the service will only be done directly at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR),” reports Newsday, noting that UNHCR has increased its capacity in the country.
“The number of internally displaced people in Colombia increased significantly last year as several armed groups fought for control in rural areas of the country, according to the Red Cross’s annual assessment. More than 123,000 people had to flee their homes in rural areas last year to escape conflict, a 60% increase from 2021. An estimated 39,000 people were confined in their villages for days or weeks, due to threats from armed groups. (Associated Press)” (via Latin America Daily Briefing)
🇺🇸 United States
WOLA’s Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at the Beyond the Wall weekly update, noting that “Issues with the (CBP One) app remain so widespread that humanitarian workers in Mexican border cities are spending much of their time offering ‘tech support.’”
“The Supreme Court instructed the National Migration Service to establish a protocol that addresses the cases of migrants who have entered irregularly and who then request to formalize their refugee status in Chile,” reports El Ciudadano. The ruling rejects the body’s previous policy “to deny the form to prove refugee status to people who entered Chile irregularly.”
A new IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) covers internal displacement caused by violence in Port-au-Prince.
“The availability of the special humanitarian visa for Ukrainian nationals and stateless persons has been further extended until December 31, 2024 due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. The program was originally implemented in March 2022 and the original end date was extended from August 31, 2022 to March 3, 2023,” notes Fragomen.
Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
Last week’s brief incorrectly stated that the IDB had approved $1.3 billion in grants for immigrant integration. The funds were for credit, not grants.
Governments and financial institutions pledged $855 million total at the 2023 International Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants and their Host Countries and Communities, reports AP. (see last week’s brief)
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) member states met March 21-22 to discuss climate change, disaster displacement, and environmental migration, reports Dominica News.
🇺🇸🇨🇦 Canada and United States
“The Nexus trusted-traveller program will fully ramp back up within five weeks, allowing frequent border crossers to complete their applications and speed up their trips,” reports National Observer, noting that the new agreement now requires applicants to interview with Canadian and US border agents separately.
Chile’s National Society of Agriculture (SNA) has reached out to the government to call for an “easy entry visa” to facilitate the entry of seasonal labor migrants in the agriculture sector, reports El Día.
“Different economic sectors in Ecuador, such as construction and agriculture, have begun to feel a shortage of workers due to the wave of migration that the country is experiencing,” reports Primicias, noting that previous labor shortages saw increased labor migration of Peruvians and Ecuadorians from the north of the country.
Migrants in Transit
Chilean authorities are concerned of potential increasing migration through Peru to Chile, reports Ex-Ante.
“The Colombian Attorney General's Office warned this Wednesday, March 22, of the discovery of an antipersonnel mine very close to one of the routes that migrants usually use through the Darién Gap to Panama,” reports El Pitazo.
A migrant caravan of 1,500—principally Venezuelans, Ecuadorians, Hondurans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Haitians, and Africans—departed for the US from Tapachula on March 25th, driven by a lack of success with the CBP One app. (La Vanguardia)
Mexico’s migration authority has confirmed that it will permit transit through the country for those from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, and Nicaragua that have appointments with US authorities confirmed by CBP.
Borders and Enforcement
🇺🇸 United States
“U.S. authorities have been flying migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Canada border to Texas as part of a deterrence effort to tackle a rise in crossings,” reports Reuters.
The Intercept highlights the construction of a “virtual wall” between the US and Mexico and the newly disclosed locations of high-tech surveillance towers made public by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The towers have been criticized by some for privacy concerns.
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
France24 highlights stories of those losing their homes due to border wall construction along the DR-Haiti border.
With the country’s population growing by over 1 million last year, “Canada has seen a record boom in its population, with Ottawa citing higher immigration targets and a ‘record-breaking year for the processing of immigration applications’ as being responsible for the increase,” according to Al Jazeera.
“Independent means” visas for retirees and pensioners are becoming increasingly prevalent in Panama, reports IMI, additionally noting that one in six visas granted in the country over the last six years are investor visas.
More on Migration
IOM highlights the impact of water-related environmental disasters, such as droughts and hurricanes, on migration.
🇲🇽🇺🇸 United States and Mexico
“Remittances to Mexico have been booming in recent years due to new migration to its northern neighbor but at least $4.4 billion of such transfers could be linked to criminal activity,” reports Bloomberg.
🇧🇴🇨🇱 Chile and Bolivia
Remittances sent from Chile to Bolivia have increased 330% over the last decade, reports InfoMigra.
🇱🇨 Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia officials are concerned about human trafficking in the country, reports The Voice, noting that the adult entertainment industry is a contributing factor.