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Americas Migration Brief - November 13, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
“A total of 70% of migrants in urban areas are internal migrants, moving within their countries’ borders. However, international migration within the region has increased by more than 80% from 2015 to 2020,” according to a new IDB report exploring “Policies to Unlock the Potential of Urban Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean.” (press release)
The registration period for regularization through Peru’s Temporary Residence Permit closed on November 10th, with 214,633 applications since May. 94% of applicants were Venezuelan, with 68% of applications in the Lima region. So far, 63,000 of the applicants have received their documentation. (La República)
“The ordinance creating the National Network of Welcoming Cities (RNCA), an initiative of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP), was signed last Thursday (9). The RNCA is a collaborative forum for free membership and participation of municipal managers, who collaborate by suggesting, debating and proposing policies, programs and actions for migrants, refugees and stateless people,” per a UN press release applauding Brazil’s new initiative to support integration at the local level.
Of Colombia’s 2.875 million Venezuelans, “currently 2,306,810 Venezuelan migrants have their Temporary Protection Permit (PPT) or are in the process of obtaining it,” according to Migración Colombia.
“The most recent statistics from the Bucaramanga Ministry of Health and Environment indicate that currently 19,417 Venezuelan migrants are affiliated with the health system and are treated in the Santander capital” out of 60,809 Venezuelans in the city, reports Vanguardia, adding that “there are currently 9,504 Venezuelan children and adolescents linked to the educational system in Bucaramanga.”
“During the last years, Uruguay has given concrete signals towards its goal of becoming a country attractive to migrants, outlying as an open-doors place in a tightening Latin America. Its government launched a single framework to validate academic credentials from foreign institutions through one office at the Ministerio de Educación y Cultura; the 2023 Census added questions about the migrants’ reality; and the provinces created discussion boards to assess the needs of migrants and refugees regarding local laws,” explains Caracas Chronicles.
However, they argue, the country’s naturalization process is complicated: “Uruguay is one of the few countries in the world where foreign citizens acquire naturalization only through the status of legal citizens… a foreign national that becomes a legal citizen in Uruguay is not a full Uruguayan citizen. Legal citizenship gives access to a passport that reads that your real citizenship is the other, Venezuelan for instance. In practice, a legal citizen can’t travel with that passport issued by Uruguay, but with one of the other citizenship.”
Belize has “announced that vetting of migrants to receive permanent residency under the Amnesty Program will continue until March 31, 2024… A total of 12,765 migrants were approved, originally from 32 different countries.” (BBN)
🇺🇸 United States
“Clearing green card backlogs would result in trillions in GDP gains over 10 years,” says a new Bipartisan Policy Center report.
MPI explores the Haitian population in the US.
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
A new HRW report explores migration through the perilous Darien Gap, arguing that “Movement restrictions, often promoted by the United States, have pushed migrants and asylum seekers to cross the Darién Gap, exposing them to abuse and empowering organized crime” and that the Gulf Clan organized crime “may have made a total of US$57 million between January and October 2023 from its control over this migration route,” among other findings. (press release)
“Human smugglers posing as legitimate travel agencies sell migrants heading to the U.S. so-called “VIP routes”, promising a safer, faster and more comfortable journey by sea than the treacherous overland hike through the Darién Gap. In reality, the trip is risky: at least 74 migrants have vanished at sea and the Colombian navy has rescued a total of 1,102 migrants along the VIP routes between 2022 and 2023, reports the Guardian.” (via Latin America Daily Briefing)
A new IACHR report “documents good practices and challenges in guaranteeing the rights of migrants and refugees from Venezuela,” arguing that “the countries of the Americas should grant refugee status to people migrating from Venezuela.” (press release)
Since 2010, Chile has received more than 30,000 asylum requests but has only accepted 815, reports BioBioChile.
Cuban athletes participating in the Pan American Games have left the team to seek asylum in Chile, reports DW.
14 Venezuelans died “when a fire broke out in one of the precarious homes where they lived,” reports Efecto Cocuyo, noting that Chilean president Gabriel Boric publicly questioned how the country treats migrants, both socially and legally.
Mexico is the leading nationality of asylum seekers in Canada, but the majority of their applications in the country are abandoned, reports The Bridge, attributing this trend to a desire to obtain a work permit without having to continue the asylum process.
“Members of the (Senate) Border and Migration Affairs Commission… reaffirmed their commitment to review the legislation to guarantee unrestricted respect for the human rights of migrants transiting through Mexico,” reports Diario Jurídico.
A new Appleseed México report explores protection issues among unaccompanied Mexican minors along the border.
🇺🇸 United States
A new Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center report “found that when their staff were able to provide legal representation or help to immigrants facing credible fear interviews, the immigrant outcomes improved considerably,” notes NM Political Report.
“Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, which monitors immigration cases, recently updated asylum decisions dating back to 2001. It found that of the 755,274 asylum cases, about 43% of the cases were granted asylum or some other form of relief. However, as of September 2023, more than 84% of those migrants who did not have representation were denied asylum,” reports Border Report.
“Congressional Democrats reintroduced a bill Wednesday that would prevent immigration officers from shackling pregnant and postpartum women in their custody,” reports NBC.
Over 100 congressional Democrats are urging the Biden administration “to designate the Palestinian territories for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and/or authorize Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Palestinians present in the United States.” (press release)
“Over 130 local, state, and national faith-based organizations are joining together to call on the Biden administration to designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).” (press release)
“Pakistan says nearly 25,000 Afghans waiting for visas to US won’t be deported as part of clampdown.” (AP)
“Some trans youth and their parents are making the same choice — to escape America — as lawmakers across the U.S. impose increasingly draconian restrictions upon gender-affirming health care,” reports HuffPost, adding that “41% of trans adults and 43% of young people between the ages of 18 to 24 said they have considered moving as a result of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, whether that’s relocating to another state or leaving (the US) altogether.”
WOLA’s Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at the Beyond the Wall weekly update, explaining, “The U.S. Congress is considering the 2024 federal budget and a supplemental budget request for Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, and the U.S.-Mexico border. In exchange for approval—especially for the supplemental request—Republican legislators are demanding changes to border and migration policy, including a series of measures that would severely curtail the right to seek asylum in the United States. Democrats are opposed, but signal that they are willing to discuss some concessions on asylum, possibly including a higher standard that asylum seekers must meet in initial “credible fear” interviews.”
“A bipartisan group of senators is working through the weekend to forge a deal on asylum policy changes designed to reduce migrant crossings along the southern border,” reports CBS.
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
“President Biden announced at the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Leaders’ Summit nearly $485 million in additional humanitarian assistance to respond to the needs of refugees, migrants, and other vulnerable populations across the Western Hemisphere.” (press release; see last week’s AMB)
🇺🇸🇧🇿 Belize and United States
🇵🇪🇨🇱 Chile and Peru
“Representatives of the Peruvian Police and Chilean Carabineros met this Wednesday, November 8 in Tacna and addressed the problem of irregular migration on the border of both countries,” reports La República.
🇺🇸 United States
DHS has launched a new Office of Homeland Security Statistics (OHSS). (press release)
Private sector leaders in Jamaica are calling for the country to attract more labor migration to address labor shortages, with one arguing, “Jamaica is missing the opportunity to tap Haiti for labour to fill gaps where they are.” (Observer)
“Immigration Minister Marc Miller is planning reforms to Canada’s temporary foreign worker program to prevent exploitation of migrants under a system that ties their right to work in Canada to a single employer,” reports The Globe and Mail.
300 Colombians and 250 Guatemalans are taking part in a pilot labor migration program to harvest fruit in Spain’s Huelva province. (Huelva24)
🇺🇸 United States
“Approximately 70 percent of this country’s agricultural workers are immigrants,” reports FERN, highlighting cases of abuse in the H-2A visa program.
Bolivia has been added as an eligible country for H-2A and H-2B visas, reports VOA, adding that 20,000 H-2B slots have been reserved in 2024 for citizens of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras.
Migrants in Transit
New York Times covers Central America’s busing of migrants north from the Darien, noting that “U.S. officials have also argued that the busing routes only incentivize more migrants to flee their homes and make the dangerous journey to the U.S. border. Their Central American counterparts argue migrants are already set on traveling to the United States and the busing system is making the journey less dangerous.” (see also AMB 10/23/23)
“Private taxi service to transport Cuban migrants suspended at Nicaragua Airport.” (CubaNoticias360)
“The Biden administration on Monday warned those involved in a new migration scheme to help Cubans, Haitians and other asylum seekers reach the United States by flying expensive charter planes to Central America that they risk the wrath of U.S. law,” reports Miami Herald.
🇰🇾 Cayman Islands
El Toque highlights growing Cuban migration to the Cayman Islands.
Borders and Enforcement
“The Government of Peru announced that the expulsion process of nearly 6,000 undocumented Venezuelans will begin” following the end of the country’s temporary regularization process on November 10th, reports Ecuavisa.
The government of Ecuador proposed earlier in the week to create a “humanitarian corridor” for Venezuelans heading north, but ultimately scrapped the proposal, believing that the probability of an emigration exodus from Peru “is low.” (La Vanguardia)
🇺🇸 United States
“The emergency supplemental spending bill the Biden administration has delivered to Congress seeks $13.6 billion in border security funding. While some members of Congress have their own prescriptions for the border that focus more on policy changes than dollars, it is resource infusions of the scope and order of magnitude the administration is proposing that would result in essential policy changes because they would strengthen the functioning of an immigration system that is buckling under intense new pressures,” writes MPI’s Doris Meissner.
“The supplemental lays out the elements for resourcing immigration functions to full capacity across the entire system. Until that building effort happens, it will not be possible for any administration, present or future, to effectively manage spontaneous border arrivals. For decades, politicians have rushed to fund Border Patrol agents, fencing, and other visible aspects of border enforcement. But until the immigration system’s adjudications and management capacities—especially asylum decision-making, the immigration courts, and removal functions—are fully funded and aligned with front-line border enforcement efforts, case backlogs and other breakdowns will incentivize further unauthorized migration.”
“The "Open Border" Farce: In 2023, there were record contracts for private industry on the world’s deadliest land border.” (Border Chronicle)
Elsewhere, Border Chronicle adds that recently announced border wall construction hasn’t included consultations with residents.
🇹🇨 Turks and Caicos
“The Ministry of Immigration and Border Services takes a bold step forward in enhancing border security with the launch of the first phase of Turks and Caicos Islands Border Force,” says Magnetic Media.
“My estimations and information gathered in Afro Venezuelan towns from the Network of Afro-Venezuelan Organizations (ROA) show that 15% of the total number of Venezuelans who have (emigrated) are of African descent,” writes Jesus Chucho Garcia at Amsterdam News.
🇺🇸 United States
“Before the end of the century, the U.S. population will stop growing for the first time in the country’s history and start to decline,” reports Washington Post.
“The aging of the U.S. population and declining population growth will continue for the foreseeable future, with major consequences for the U.S. workforce, the federal budget, and economic growth. In the face of this demographic transition, immigration will be a vital tool to maintain population growth and drive the U.S. economy,” says the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Americas Quarterly highlights growing emigration of young Peruvians.
More on Migration
🇸🇻 El Salvador
“The Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration will officially reopen Quebec’s Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) on January 1… Key changes include stricter French language requirements, residence requirements and financial contributions in Quebec, and a new Work Permit step.” (Fragomen)