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Americas Migration Brief - November 6, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
An IDB report exploring integration in Chile, Ecuador, and Peru “highlights that evolving legislation, a lack of information, and siloed government departments are among the key factors that influence the experiences of migrants and refugees in these countries.”
The state of Nuevo León has developed a “total inclusion strategy” to support integration of internal and foreign migrants. (Milenio)
A new working group with participation from government, multilaterals, civil society, and the private sector seeks to “offer decent and formal employment to migrants.” (El Economista)
In Lima “in recent days, a series of violent acts against the Venezuelan community have been recorded, as a result of the conflict in which a group of motorcycle taxi drivers and merchants decided to attack any Venezuelan citizen traveling in the districts of La Victoria and El Agustino,” reports La República, highlighting calls from civil society to reject stigmatization and discrimination against Venezuelans in Peru.
UNHCR and partners “recognized 67 companies in Ecuador with an “Inclusive Company” seal, for their efforts to integrate refugees and migrants into jobs,” reports Confirmado.
An IDB working paper “examines the impact of a behavioral intervention on reducing discrimination against Venezuelan migrants in the screening of home rental applications conducted by Ecuadorian real estate agents.”
An IDB discussion paper finds “grading biases against children from immigrant households” in Ecuadorian schools.
Efecto Cocuyo explores expectations surrounding migration-related policy for the winners of Colombia’s recent local and regional elections, noting that the Bogota mayor-elect has not been particularly clear on his policies, but has asserted interest in taking advantage of the demographic boost in the labor force from migration.
ElDiarioAR highlights the history and experiences of Ecuadorian migrants in Argentina amid an unstable local economy.
“For the first time in decades, the number of Canadians who want to take in fewer immigrants is increasing,” reports The Economist.
“Canada's liberal government kept immigration targets unchanged for the next two years and said it would stop ramping up immigration from 2026 onwards, as the country grapples with high inflation and a housing crisis. Canada is targeting 465,000 new residents this year, 485,000 in 2024 before hitting 500,000 in 2025 - a level it aims to maintain in 2026,” reports Reuters.
🇺🇸 United States
“Here’s one approach to discourage migrants from settling in New York City: Give them a free, one-way plane ticket out of town. Mayor Eric Adams is ramping up efforts to fly migrants to the destination of their choice, figuring it’s cheaper than sheltering them for months on end,” reports Politico.
“Many migrants entering the U.S. southern border have been steered to New York City by relatives, politicians and smugglers, in part because of the city’s right-to-shelter policy,” reports New York Times, noting that the city “is trying in court to alter its right-to-shelter policy to exempt recent migrants.”
“Governors from across the country have been echoing the need to simplify and expedite access to work permits… Common sense recommendations include: Establishing community-based application processing centers and providing support in partnership with USCIS,” notes Emerson Collective.
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
An International Crisis Group report explores the Darien Gap, noting that on the Colombian side, the heavy presence of organized crime “ensures compliance by imposing discipline; while seizing a share of profits from the migrant business, it says it does not tolerate violence against migrants. The presence of organised crime is much lesser on Panama’s side of the border, but the immediate physical dangers are higher. Gangs seemingly formed by local youths harass and attack migrants who fall into their snares. They are believed to be responsible for an unknown number of murders as well as many cases of rape and other sexual violence… Even in state-run migrant reception centres, border officials have allegedly abused vulnerable women.”
Thousands have been displaced as “Heavy rains, floods and river flooding in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil have caused deaths, missing people and thousands of evacuees in recent days, in what authorities attribute to the El Niño phenomenon and affirm could extend to the first months of 2024,” reports AFP.
The IACHR “welcomes the Law 2332 on the acquisition, loss, and recovery of Colombian nationality and calls on the State to continue its efforts to prevent, reduce, and eradicate statelessness… At the same time, the IACHR notes with concern that the law makes the acquisition of nationality by birth conditional on the mother and/or father of the child having a regular migration status in Colombia and the intention to remain in the territory for three consecutive years… it would create risks of statelessness.” (press release)
“The World Food Program reported that increasing violence by armed groups since mid-August has forced about 40,000 people in the capital of Port-au-Prince to flee their homes. There are now about 200,000 displaced people across Haiti, the United Nations food agency said.” (Miami Herald; via Latin America Daily Briefing)
Global Voices highlights calls for Jamaica to provide greater access to protection for Haitians.
“Municipal police officers in Tijuana routinely beat and assault deported migrants,” reports Border Report.
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago’s High Court will not block the deportation of a former Venezuelan mayor fearing political persecution, reports Newsday, adding that the judge “ruled that the principle of non-refoulement was not binding on TT as it stood in conflict with provisions of the Immigration Act.”
Guatemala has granted refugee status to 870 individuals since 1986, reports DCA.
“In the past two years, more than 350 children have been deported from the U.S. to Guatemala and over 10,100 have been deported from Mexico… But when the children are sent back to Guatemala, they are often dropped off in cities hours away from the remote villages where their families live and have no financial means to get home,” reports NBC.
🇺🇸 United States
“Only 8% of the more than 60,000 people who have registered at the safe mobility centers in Colombia, Guatemala and Costa Rica, an initiative promoted by the US government, have been referred to the refugee program of the North American country,” reports EFE.
Immigration court is “The Most Broken Court in America,” says Slate, noting that “the distances between immigration courts and the people who need to use them are often vast” and that “Because immigration courts are a part of the DOJ, they are exceptionally vulnerable to interference from the executive branch,” among other criticisms.
“Our failed immigration policy is causing a child labor epidemic in the U.S.” (LA Times)
“America’s asylum processes keep migrants in perpetual limbo, unable to work and support themselves, after they’ve come to the United States,” says The Nation.
The Border Chronicle explores from the perspective of an emergency room the injuries and deaths caused by deterrence and border enforcement policies.
In Canada, “7,280 asylum claims were processed in September, up from totals ranging between 3,880 and 5,550 over the previous five months. That compares with an average of about 3,600 monthly claims processed during 2022 and fewer than 1,100 a month in 2021,” reports VOA.
Canada “is warning would-be Afghan migrants waiting on their applications to be completed in Pakistan that they should not leave their accommodations in case they are arrested for lacking legal documents, and asking them to notify Canadian diplomatic services in Islamabad should they be detained.” (CBC)
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
Last week, the US hosted the first Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Leaders’ Summit with participation from Barbados, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay. Discussions included ways to address historic levels of migration in the region, and included an announcement that “The United States, Canada, the Republic of Korea, and Spain are working with the IDB to make available a combined $89 million for IDB’s Grant Facility to support countries in the region most impacted by migration. These funds will help to stabilize refugee and migrant-hosting communities by funding infrastructure and social services, such as education, citizen security, and economic opportunities, as part of our shared commitments under the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection and the Americas Partnership.” (press release)
This is an important initiative to promote migrants’ integration in the region, I noted on LinkedIn.
Colombia will host this week a regional conference on climate change and migration, reports La Opinión.
🇺🇸 United States
The US “announced that it expects to make an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas available for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024, on top of the congressionally mandated 66,000 H-2B visas that are available each fiscal year.” (press release)
“President Biden has issued a wide-ranging Executive Order to establish guidelines for artificial intelligence (AI) security, innovation, and advancement – including several immigration provisions related to the attraction and retention of foreign talent in AI,” reports Fragomen.
“Immigration represents nearly 100% of Canada’s labour market growth,” says CIC News, explaining access to different labor migration pathways in the country.
“Quebec wants some temporary foreign workers to pass a French test to renew their work permits,” reports CBC.
Migrants in Transit
“A major influx of Chinese migration to the United States on a relatively new and perilous route through Panama's Darién Gap jungle has become increasingly popular thanks to social media… (they) say they are seeking to escape an increasingly repressive political climate and bleak economic prospects,” reports AP.
From Nepal, “The preferred back-channel route to the southern border of the US currently is from Kathmandu airport to Dubai, Moscow, Bogota or Havana to La Paz, then on foot or by jeep through Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico,” reports Nepali Times.
“The airline Avianca has restricted flights departing from Europe, South America and some Central American countries to Managua due to the overdemand that exists for them by people from Africa and other countries who arrive in Nicaragua to begin their trip towards the United States,” says La Prensa.
Inter-American Dialogue explores migration across the Americas.
“Mexico's National Institute of Migration reported that from September 18 to October 30, officials prevented 34,474 migrants from traveling on trains north to the border with the U.S… Officials say these operations have also caused fewer migrants to reach the northern border of Mexico,” reports KVIA.
“Nearly 7,000 migrants are advancing through southern Mexico towards the United States, in one of the largest caravans that have left the town of Tapachula, on the border with Guatemala, in more than a year,” reports France24, adding that Tapachula “has become a concentration point for foreigners who are forced to wait for months for their transit permits.”
“The number of immigrants who left Canada surged in 2017 and 2019… Those spikes represent an increase of 31 per cent above the historical average. Even excluding those two years, however, the study found onward migration, or the process whereby someone moves on from a country they immigrated to and settles again elsewhere, has steadily increased since the 1980s,” reports CTV News, citing a new report on immigrant retention.
Internal migration within Venezuela is on the rise, reports Crónica Uno.
Borders and Enforcement
“In a matter of days, Haiti abruptly halted flights to Nicaragua, El Salvador announced a $1,300 fee for African passengers with a layover in the country, and Mexico issued new visa obligations. The new requirements are meant to stop migrants from crossing these Latin American nations en route to the U.S., and are an effort to appease the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden,” says Vice.
Cubans are flying to Nicaragua to enter the contiguous Americas, but multiple countries in the region have used transit visa restrictions to block Cubans from using connecting flights through third countries, notes Center for Democracy in the Americas at their US-Cuba News Brief.
“The Haitian government suspended all flights to Nicaragua on Monday amid rising concerns about a massive migration wave that has led to tens of thousands of Haitians using the Central American country as a springboard to the United States,” reports Miami Herald.
Chile’s proposed constitution, set to be voted on in December, includes multiple articles that would crack down on irregular migration and “empower authorities to more quickly declare states of exception, under which rights can be limited,” reports Primicias.
Chile’s president has criticized the draft constitution, which includes multiple other controversies, notes DW.
🇺🇸 United States
“The Biden Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has removed a higher percentage of arrested border crossers in its first two years than the Trump DHS did over its last two years,” explains Cato Institute.
“The open-borders myth won’t die even though every single day of his administration, Mr. Biden has imposed restrictions on applying for asylum far beyond those required by law,” writes Cato’s David Bier at New York Times, arguing that instead he should create more legal pathways for immigrants—“Biden’s detractors may call it open borders. But they’d call anything that.”
“America desperately needs immigrants. Population growth is the lowest in American history. We have averaged nearly 10 million job openings over the past two years. Our worker-to-retiree ratio continues to fall. We need more workers, taxpayers and contributors.”
TIME traces the bipartisan history of the US-Mexico border wall.
“Trump's promises and rhetoric on immigration during his second presidential campaign have been harsher this time around,” says CBS, outlining his proposals ahead of the 2024 election.
🇺🇸 United States
Migrants from countries other than Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador now represent the majority of encounters at the US-Mexico border for the first time ever, notes MPI, explaining the changing demographics of migration to the US.
“Barbados' shrinking population has reached crisis levels,” reports Loop, noting that Prime Minister Mia Mottley has “(suggested) that migration might be one of the solutions to the island's population crisis.”
More on Migration
A new Inter-American Dialogue presentation explores remittances in the Americas, noting, “remittances to Nicaragua are slated to see another 40 percent increase, while Haiti and Jamaica will experience negative growth.”
“Canada has announced reforms aimed at strengthening the international student program and at better protecting genuine students from fraud… post-secondary designated learning institutions (DLI) will be required to confirm every applicant’s letter of acceptance directly with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) before a study permit is issued.” (Canadian Immigrant)