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Americas Migration Brief - October 30, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
The OECD published the 2023 edition of the International Migration Outlook report. Findings include:
“Despite an overall reduction, a gap in the employment rate between migrants and the native-born still persists, particularly in Western European countries… in contrast to other OECD countries such as the United States (+3.2 percentage points) and Latin American countries where migrants have higher employment rates than the native-born. For example, the employment gap in Chile and Costa Rica was +15.1 and +7.6 percentage points, respectively.”
“The top origin countries for asylum applicants within the OECD in 2022 were Venezuela (221 000), Cuba (180 000), Afghanistan (170 000) and Nicaragua (165 000).”
A new US News survey found that 42.5% of Chilean respondents “agreed with the statement, “My country should be more open to immigration.” That is a 15-point drop from 2022, when 57.5% agreed, and marks the largest decline among the 36 countries surveyed… Just five years ago, Chileans’ share of support for more immigration was around 70%.”
“The government of Uruguay decided this week to deliver rental subsidy certificates to 13 migrant families, as a first step to extend this benefit, in principle, to a total of 260 families. The measure will be for two years and aims to facilitate access to housing for those who arrive from another country and often find it difficult to settle properly,” reports ContraPunto.
The Unión Venezolana NGO has requested an extension for foreigners to regularize their status in Peru ahead of the November 10 deadline; the government has warned that it will begin deportations after the deadline. (La República)
Peru and the European Union are planning to collaborate on “the establishment of social protection networks for the migrant population” in an effort to promote social and economic inclusion, notes El Peruano.
Guatemala has sped up work permit processing and digitized its system, reports DCA.
“While life grows harder for Venezuelan migrants, Colombian public opinion has grown less favorable,” says LA Times, explaining increasing xenophobia and a worsening economic outlook that have made integration more difficult.
Proyecto Venezuela highlights efforts to integrate migrants in Barranquilla.
El Universal focuses on integration for LGBT migrants in the city and elsewhere in Colombia, noting that Barranquilla lacks a policy to provide appropriate services to the population.
El Universal highlights migrants working in Mexico, bolstering the process of nearshoring in Northern Mexico. However, “the labor law allows companies to have up to 10% of their staff made up of foreigners.”
Migrants in Tapachula held a vigil to “ask the Mexican government to be considered as labor for the reconstruction of the state of Guerrero affected by Hurricane Otis,” reports La Jornada.
A survey of Venezuelans in Brazil found that “Eight in 10 of those who responded to the survey report feeling alone (either regularly or occasionally), and about half felt the need for emotional or psychosocial support.” (IOM)
RPP explores the experiences of Peruvian migrants in Argentina, noting that “more than 15 thousand Peruvian students benefit from Argentine public education” at the university level.
“Since 2020, IOM has provided training courses on business skills, finance, marketing and seed funding in collaboration with Voices GY to help Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Guyana gain the skills to be self-sufficient while at the same time, contributing to their host communities. Thus far, the programme has helped around 150 entrepreneurs gain the skills they need not only to survive, but to thrive.” (IOM)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
“Costa Rica reestablished the consular registration requirement for migrants who request certain ordinary immigration categories,” reports Confidencial.
“A 2022 Statistics Canada report showed that 62 per cent of recent immigrant women with a bachelor’s degree or higher were employed full-time in 2021, compared with 80 per cent of Canadian-born women with equivalent education,” but the Lumen skills training program “helps folks from Indigenous populations, visible minorities and newcomers find their first jobs in Canada, at no cost to the participants.” (Globe and Mail)
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
“Rising maritime migration has been overshadowed by events at the U.S.-Mexico border, but is presenting a formidable challenge of its own to the U.S. government, one unseen in decades. Cubans and Haitians in particular have been taking to the sea in numbers not witnessed in a generation, and the Haitian numbers could surge as that country spirals closer to collapse… Perhaps partly in response to these new levels of interdictions, the Biden administration included maritime migrants in its 2023 policy to disqualify from asylum those who travel to the United States without authorization,” says MPI, adding that “The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos are key U.S. partners for enforcement in the Caribbean.”
“Migrants who cross the Darien jungle often face traumatic situations, from the reasons that forced them to flee their countries to the difficulties experienced during migration, which leave physical and psychological traces… Although the visible consequences are the first to be addressed, mental health is gradually becoming a priority in the treatment of migrants,” reports Eco.
A new CLAMOR report focuses on protection issues and violence against migrants in transit in Central America and Mexico.
“Irregular migration of minors under 18 years of age passing through Mexico grew by 61.9% year-on-year from January to August 2023,” reports La Vanguardia.
Migrants in Tapachula are calling for the Mexican government “to implement a plan to protect their lives due to the probable formation of a cyclone in the Pacific, near the border between Mexico and Guatemala,” reports La Vanguardia.
Amnesty International highlights calls for the Mexican government to institute planned relocation programs for a community set to be displaced by climate change.
“Thousands of people in Mexico have been forced to leave their homes due to climate change and natural disasters, but above all, due to the increase in violence and the presence of organized crime in the country,” says Indigo.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Human rights and civil society organizations warn that Costa Rica’s migration policy used to be more welcoming but has turned more restrictive under the current administration, including limiting access to asylum. (OndaLocal)
“Canada is on the brink of fulfilling its commitment to accept 40,000 Afghans before the end of this year… (and) intends to maintain its flexibility in providing shelter to at-risk Afghans in the future,” says VOA.
🇺🇸 United States
“A Biden administration plan to require some migrant families to remain in Texas while immigration authorities determined their eligibility for asylum collapsed due to local opposition in the Democratic-led border city of El Paso,” reports CBS.
“The U.S. Biden administration’s exhortations for would-be migrants to apply for legal entry to the U.S have a central contradiction: “Only a fraction of the applicants have been accepted, while countless others — as many as 1.5 million or more, by several estimates — are waiting for an answer outside the United States in a kind of migration purgatory, trying to weather the upheaval, violence and hardship that makes them so anxious to flee,” reports the New York Times” in reference to the Biden administration’s humanitarian parole policy. (via Latin America Daily Briefing)
“Humanitarian parole is only available to those with valid passports and networks in the US, leaving many out in the cold. And even for those who should qualify, the policy appears broken and faces major roadblocks to implementation. The entire hemisphere would benefit economically and politically if the US could bring more focus to creating an effective system to assist the Venezuelans fleeing the brutal regime and its decade-long economic collapse,” says James Bosworth at Latin America Risk Report.
HIAS reviews concerns with access to the CBP One App, as well as efforts to “counteract the spread of rumors and misinformation.”
MPI’s Kathleen Bush-Joseph reviews on Twitter credible fear pass rates before and after new asylum restrictions were introduced in May: “Venezuelans 81 to 62%; Cubans 86 to 82%; Nicaraguans 78 to 61%; Haitians 54 to 63%.”
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) member states signed a “high-level Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change” last week, reports Dominica News Online.
Colombia is set to host a regional migration summit in 2024, while South American nations met last week in Bolivia to discuss irregular migration. (El País, Infobae, see last week’s AMB on Mexico’s regional summit)
“Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday he would press his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden to open dialogue with Cuba after hosting talks at the weekend aimed at containing a sharp increase in U.S.-bound migration from Latin America,” reports Reuters.
Guatemala’s new Migration Policy has been approved. (press release)
“Workers are often pressured to return to their home country when they are hurt – not just by Canada, but also by the country of origin’s officials,” reports Niagara Now.
Migrants in Transit
A new paper at Scientific Reports “found 70.7% more emigration to the US when local growing seasons in Central America were recently drier than the historical average since 1901.”
African migration is increasingly entering the Americas via El Salvador and Nicaragua, thus avoiding the Darien Gap—highlighted by a 65% drop in African migration through the Darien in the first half of 2023 despite a 553% rise in entries to Honduras. (Bloomberg)
“Several hundred migrants in southern Mexico awaited buses north on Monday under a new government program meant to help manage the numbers arriving… Oaxaca officials opened the site last week in an effort to reduce risks for migrants, who had been gathering in large numbers at local bus terminals while trying to buy bus tickets north,” reports Reuters, adding, “Migrants must pay their own fares, ranging from 386 to 1,500 pesos (about $22-$85), and some people said they were awaiting money transfers from relatives, or seeking work, to raise funds.” (see last week’s AMB on migrant busing through Central America)
“The journeys are not on official air routes, but flight tracking data that has been analyzed by Orozco and The Associated Press shows that 268 of the charter flights went from Haiti to Nicaragua since the beginning of August. The charter airlines have flown as many as 31,000 people out of Haiti, which would represent nearly 60% of the Haitians arriving to the U.S. border, Orozco's data shows. Over the same period, some 172 flights have carried 17,000 people from Cuba to Nicaragua,” reports AP.
For migrants entering Nicaragua by land from Costa Rica en route north, “the government of President Daniel Ortega remains silent” and has not implemented any policies in relation to the transit migration, unlike their neighbors, reports La Estrella de Panamá.
“More than 416,000 irregular migrants have entered Honduras [from Nicaragua] so far in 2023, a record number that doubles the number of foreigners who entered the country during 2022,” reports SwissInfo.
More than 400 migrants, including children, are currently stranded at Jaqué beach in the Darien province of Panama, says Tvn.
Cubans attempting to use the US Regional Processing Centers in Colombia are criticizing the slow pace of the program and alleging that Venezuelans receive prioritization, reports CiberCuba.
Infobae traces the migration route of Afghans entering Peru (from Brazil) en route to the US.
Borders and Enforcement
🇸🇻 El Salvador
“El Salvador is charging passengers from Africa or India a $1,000 fee, in an apparent bid to curb migration to the US through the Central American country,” reports Bloomberg.
🇨🇷🇭🇳 Honduras and Costa Rica
“The presidents of Costa Rica and Honduras agreed on Tuesday to reverse short-lived visa requirements for travelers from their respective countries… (but) travelers will still need a police certificate showing their criminal or police records,” reports Reuters.
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
“Dominican President Luis Abinader, almost thirty political forces (none from the main opposition) and twenty intellectuals, including university presidents, signed a pact yesterday in Santo Domingo to define positions on the crisis in neighboring Haiti — it essentially reaffirms the government’s hardline stance on migration and borders with regard to Haiti, reports EFE,” writes Jordana Timerman at Latin America Daily Briefing.
🇺🇸 United States
“Illegal border crossings by Venezuelans have dropped 50 to 60 percent since the Biden administration announced Oct. 5 it would begin deportation flights to the South American nation,” reports Washington Post.
“New Hampshire’s plan to increase patrols and surveillance along its border with Canada is drawing praise from Republican politicians. But civil liberties and immigrants rights activists are raising alarm that an expansion of police powers comes despite a lack of data supporting claims there are migrants flowing across the state’s international boundary,” reports NHPR.
🇺🇸🇨🇺 Cuba and United States
“Amid one of the worst economic and political crises since the late Fidel Castro turned Cuba into a communist country over sixty years ago, the island has lost almost 4 percent of its population in the past two years. These Cubans are now in the United States. Nearly 425,000 Cubans have come in the past two fiscal years,” reports Miami Herald.
The Economist explains Paraguay’s census results in historical context, noting that “the new census is much more reliable” than those of years past and that “birth rates fell and migration had picked up sharply in the early 2000s.”
More on Migration
The Inter-American Development Bank explores in a new technical note how “Hidden populations, such as irregular migrants, often elude traditional probabilistic sampling methods.”
IOM has published a new migration governance profile on Omoa, Honduras.