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Americas Migration Brief - October 2, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
El Estímulo highlights the difficulties Venezuelan migrants have in registering and showing their identity—and its impacts on integration—noting, “to obtain a Venezuelan ID the procedure must be done within the country, while the passport has a high cost, among the most expensive in the world, in addition to long delivery times.”
The municipality of Apodaca in Nuevo León opened a Migrant Integration Center, the first of its kind in both the state and the country, according to Indigo.
CBS highlights an integration “program in Tapachula [that] has so far placed about 31,000 refugees in new jobs with affordable housing and access to education and health services.”
“The Mexican government must take advantage of the migrant labor force in its productive activity, said the Canadian ambassador to Mexico, Graeme C. Clark,” reports El Universal.
IDB’s Felipe Muñoz highlights on Twitter the inauguration of the second Migracentro in Lima as “an innovative care space that will provide immigration services to migrants and locals in a single place: legal assistance, economic and labor advice.”
Bogotá launched the city’s first Migration Public Policy last week with the aim of promoting institutional capacity for migration governance and integration. (Noticia al Dia)
Per the Constitutional Court, “the Ministry of Education will have to formulate new guidelines that make it easier for the migrant population to access education,” including for those in an irregular status, reports El Espectador.
580,000 migrants have entered the Colombian educational system, reports El Tiempo.
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago
Just 9,000 Venezuelans in Trinidad and Tobago have regular status despite official estimates of 60,000 Venezuelans in the country and estimates from NGOs reaching up to 130,000, reports France24, highlighting labor exploitation and discrimination.
AFP reports on the struggles of Venezuelan women in Trinidad “imprisoned in sex work networks.”
“President Irfaan Ali said the more than 1,000 Spanish-speaking children in schools there comes at a time when government was forging ahead with plans to make Spanish a commonly used language in Guyana,” reports Demerara Waves.
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
As of June, Haitians have received 39% of Humanitarian Visa Cards in Mexico, followed by Hondurans (20%) and Cubans (8%), reports Conexión Migrante.
Brazil is reducing the number of foreign embassies from which Afghans can apply for humanitarian visas, reports Agência Brasil. Furthermore, visas will only be granted if there is deemed available shelter space, says Folha, linking the policy change to “(wanting) to stop being a route to the USA.”
“Brazil has a long-standing reputation as a leader in refugee protection and is a model in the Americas for welcoming asylum seekers,” says Mother Jones, comparing the country’s asylum system to that of the US.
🇺🇸 United States
The US refugee admissions target for FY2024 is set at 125,000, including 35,000-50,000 slots reserved for refugees from Latin America and the Caribbean. (press release)
“The figure more than doubles the allotment for fiscal year 2023, when 15,000 spots were reserved for the region,” reports CBS.
“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended and redesignated Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS),” notes Fragomen.
“The U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince is opening up a large number of non-immigrant visa appointments for Haitian nationals but the first available openings aren’t until 2026, reports the Miami Herald,” noting that visa services have been suspended due to gang violence. (via Latin America Daily Briefing)
“The United States government should suspend deportation flights to Haiti, 74 organizations including Human Rights Watch said… UNHCR called on all governments to ‘suspend the forced return of Haitians to their country’ in November 2022, but the US government has sent nine deportation flights to Haiti since that time.” (press release)
“The State Department must immediately reform the initial stage of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program in which applicants obtain employment verification—otherwise known as Chief of Mission (COM) approval—before more Afghans die waiting for the United States to fulfill its promise to them,” says IRAP.
WOLA’s Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at the Beyond the Wall weekly update, explaining, “migration increased significantly at the U.S.-Mexico border from July to August.”
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
Following the 10-year anniversary of the Constitutional Court decision TC/0168/13, the IACHR calls for the Dominican Republic “to take effective action to restore the right to a nationality for those individuals who remain stateless, as well as to refrain from adopting further legislation, public policies, and/or administrative or judicial standards that increase the risk of statelessness in the Dominican Republic.” (press release, see last week’s AMB)
Civil society organizations “asked the Dominican government to stop what they consider to be retaliations against thousands of Dominican people of Haitian descent, Haitian people with or without current immigration documentation, unleashed as a result of the conflict between the Dominican Republic and Haiti for the construction of a canal over the Dajabón River (Masacre),” reports Acento. (see AMB 9/18/23 on the DR border closure)
“More than 10,000 people fled their homes in some areas of the central department of Haiti, the UN migration agency reported on Wednesday, after a series of attacks carried out by gangs in recent days, including at a hospital in the north of the capital.” (VOA)
🇰🇾 Cayman Islands
Some members of a group of Cuban migrants traveling by boat to the Cayman Islands “perished at sea when they tried to swim to Cayman Brac,” reports Loop.
“Canada is now within a few thousand people of reaching its goal of providing a safe haven for 40,000 Afghans,” reports Immigration.
La Prensa highlights UNHCR’s calls for an end to statelessness within the context of Nicaragua, where more than 300 nationals have been stripped of their citizenship as a form of political persecution.
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
“Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday called for a meeting of foreign ministers from 10 countries around Latin America to discuss migration,” reports Reuters. Canal8 says that the aim is to develop a joint plan to present to US President Joe Biden in November.
“At the end of the High Level Economic Dialogue (DEAN) between Mexico and the United States… (Mexican) Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena stated that it is urgent to adopt a hemispheric and regional approach to address the causes of migration,” reports La Jornada.
The US held a roundtable on the Regional Processing Center (Safe Mobility Office) initiative. (press release)
Panama’s “Vice Minister of Security, Ivor Pittí, said that Panama has a proposal to establish a Regional Observation Center for Irregular Migration” in order to approve regional coordination, reports Crítica.
🇺🇸🇲🇽 Mexico and United States
Human rights defenders are saying that Mexico is doing the “dirty work” of the US to reduce the number of asylum seekers and slow migration, reports CNN.
🇺🇸🇵🇦 Panama and United States
“The Biden administration plans to direct millions of dollars in foreign aid to help Panama deport more migrants,” reports Axios.
🇭🇳🇺🇸 United States and Honduras
After meetings with US officials and a visit to the US-Mexico border, Honduran President Xiomara Castro announced new consulates and services in the US for Honduran nationals, additionally calling for the US to redesignate Honduras for TPS. (Loop)
The US announced that it would provide $11.6 million in aid for the reintegration of Honduran returnees. (El Heraldo)
🇻🇪🇨🇴 Colombia and Venezuela
“The First Binational Meeting on Consular and Migratory Affairs between Venezuela and Colombia closed this Tuesday with 16 commitments assumed by the delegations.” (press release)
“Many Caribbean countries' health ministers are frustrated by continually losing healthcare workers to international markets,” reports Newsday, noting calls for “WHO member states that recruit healthcare workers from the Caribbean to invest in the region to train more people.”
Migrants in Transit
“IOM is appealing for governments in Central America and Mexico to collaborate to address the immediate humanitarian needs of people on the move as unprecedented numbers of vulnerable migrants transit through the region… Beyond the sheer increase in the numbers of people making the trip, the most significant trend has been the shift by Cuban migrants and those coming from African nations who are increasingly choosing air routes to reach Central America, sidestepping the Darien to continue their northbound trip.” (press release, see also Reuters)
A new case study report from R4V explores long-distance humanitarian transport.
San Diego Union-Tribune highlights stories of Chinese migrants en route to the US via Ecuador, noting that increasing Chinese emigration is linked to a slowing economy at home.
A record more than 400,000 migrants have crossed the Darien Gap so far this year, surpassing expectations, reports Reuters.
“The impact of climate change on poorer communities in Honduras is having a devastating effect on livelihoods, forcing many people to flee the country to avoid starvation and lack of safe drinking water,” says the UN Human Rights Office.
An estimated 50,000 migrants will have entered Chile irregularly by the end of the year, reports Radio Sol, noting that this figure is similar to those reported in the previous two years.
Brazil’s Acre state is worried that migration will increase as a result of increasing enforcement measures in Peru and Chile, reports BBC. Shelter space in the state is already “operating close to or above capacity.”
“Immigration Minister Marc Miller says he wants to make it easier for Indigenous people to cross the international borders that have divided their homelands and families for generations,” reports CBC.
Borders and Enforcement
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rica declared a state of emergency over migration last week, explains Jordana Timerman at Latin America Daily Briefing, noting, “Authorities said the national emergency aims to enhance security measures at the border while still ensuring humane treatment and safe transit for migrants who will be redirected from Canoas and transported via buses to the country’s north.”
Analysts and human rights defenders have warned that the measure may criminalize migrants and put them at harm, reports Artículo66.
Mexico currently conducts deportations, or “assisted returns,” to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras; the country is looking to establish agreements to also do so to Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. (Reuters, Martí, EFE)
Panama is planning to intensify maritime border enforcement, reports Prensa Latina.
🇹🇨 Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos has repatriated 75% more irregular migrants so far this year than during the same period last year, reports The Sun. “The 3,842 repatriations for the period January to September 2023 has surpassed the repatriation totals of every year for the last ten years.”
🇧🇸 The Bahamas
The Bahamas intercepted a group of Cuban migrants that were traveling by boat.
“A provision of federal immigration law can be used to bar people on security grounds for engaging in violence only when there is a clear connection to national security, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled,” reports Global News.
🇺🇸 United States
The US is adding Israel to the Visa Waiver Program, notes Fragomen.
“In recent years, Australia has become one of the favorite places for Colombians to emigrate… only behind the United States and Europe,” says El Colombiano.
More on Migration
47% of Peruvians wish to emigrate in the next three years, an increase of 11 percentage points from last year. (IEP)
WorldCrunch highlights “the Cuban government's systematic intimidation techniques and coercion of its professionals abroad.”
“Cuba has offered to supply teachers to Jamaica amid mass teacher resignations affecting the nation’s schools,” reports CNW.
“The federal government is inviting thousands of Canadians to apply to sponsor their parents and grandparents starting Oct. 10 — but many say its recent approach is leaving qualified Canadians behind,” reports CBC.
🇸🇻 El Salvador
IOM has published a new migration governance profile on the Salvadoran municipality of La Palma, Chalatenango.