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Americas Migration Brief - October 9, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
Diario Libre highlights the ILO’s work “so that the certification obtained by a person from a certain country can be used in another nation,” noting for example that “the Network of Vocational Training Institutes of Central America, Panama, Dominican Republic and Haiti (Redifp)… will work with an initiative approved by the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) that seeks to standardize technical-vocational training titles with all countries in the region so that anyone who trains in the network's institutes can work with that certificate in the nations involved.”
In Uruguay, “the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) issued 1,500 recognitions or revalidations of foreign titles since the procedure was included among its powers in July 2022.” (press release)
I wrote a special edition of the AMB last week. Based on a recent trip to Brazil, I explore the country’s reception of Venezuelans and the impacts—and opportunities for improvement—with the interiorization program to voluntarily relocate individuals away from the border region.
A new Religião & Sociedade paper explores the interiorization and integration of Venezuelans by the Morman church in “a medium-sized city in the province of the state of São Paulo.”
“In this new ten-part series, Sub-Saharan Africans share their experiences of moving to and settling in Brazil. They speak about the challenges, discrimination, and exclusion they have faced as they navigate the migration system in search for a dignified life.” (Open Democracy)
A new El Barómetro report explores xenophobic discrimination during Colombia’s current election season, focusing on the comments of candidates for the governorship of Antioquia and mayorships of Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cali, and Cúcuta.
El Espectador focuses on the case of Bogotá, arguing, “In the current campaign, no political initiatives emerged to avoid the instrumentalization of xenophobia against the population in conditions of human mobility from Venezuela; on the contrary, more and more candidates make statements, accusations and generalizations against the Venezuelan population.”
A newly published IFC report from last year explores “the financial inclusion of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Peru,” characterizing the population and opportunities in the market.
Mexico City lacks shelter space for migrants and asylum seekers, reports Pie de Página, noting that because of US-driven enforcement efforts, “migrants stay longer in Mexico City, and it is becoming a destination place. For this reason, shelters and activists ask that comprehensive public policies for care and integration be generated.”
A new Sin Fronteras report explores regularization programs in the country, including the Temporary Migration Regularization Programs of 2015 and 2017, arguing, “immigration irregularity exists due to the inflexible Immigration Law that does not allow accessible immigration regularization, either due to the reduced regularization options or due to the difficulty of meeting requirements.” (Animal Político)
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
According to official data on workers in the tourism industry, “Haitian migrants earn an average monthly income of RD$11,962, while those born in other countries earn RD$18,180.” (Dominican Today)
🇰🇾 Cayman Islands
CaymanNewsService explains the profile of rising numbers of immigrant children in the Cayman school system—the plurality “expatriate children of public sector workers.”
🇺🇸 United States
A new CNN op-ed highlights the important role of TPS for Venezuelans in promoting integration; “With work authorization, these workers should provide a huge boost to the economy by earning more and filling critical labor shortages.”
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
“In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), weather-related disasters, such as riverine floods and storm surges, caused 2.3 million internal displacements of children over a six–year period,” says UNICEF, noting Cuba and Honduras recorded the highest figures. They project that over the next 30 years, “floods alone are projected to displace 4.6 million children” in the region.
The UN Human Rights Office warns of securitized and militarized approaches to migration in Central America and Mexico impacting human rights.
Agenda Estado de Derecho explores “the recent advances and the challenges that persist regarding human trafficking in the Inter-American Human Rights System.”
“Many people… can request to enter the procedure for recognizing refugee status at the border. However, practice has shown that Investigative Police (PDI) personnel do not have sufficient tools to channel and manage protection needs at the border, preventing the entry of refugee applicants into national territory,” says SJM, exploring access to refugee status and protection in Chile.
Conectas and partners “criticize government rules that determine that humanitarian visas will only be granted if Brazil has places in shelters to receive Afghans,” pointing to protection risks and that “this model will certainly favor groups and individuals with greater social and financial capital,” per a press release. (see last week’s AMB)
🇺🇸 United States
“The Biden administration is restarting direct deportations to Venezuela… For years, the U.S. did not carry out regular deportations to Venezuela due to its strained diplomatic relationship,” reports CBS.
“This new decision to return Venezuelans is reprehensible, considering the risks that Venezuelans face in their own country and the international obligation the U.S. has to guarantee it is not returning people to a country where they would face probable danger or persecution (non-refoulement),” says WOLA.
“Critics are saying the end of a pandemic-era practice to provide interpreters for those seeking asylum is putting lives at risk,” reports CBS.
Telemundo highlights continued issues with access to the CBPOne App.
WOLA’s Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at the Beyond the Wall weekly update, explaining, “Preliminary data indicates that migration increased at the U.S.-Mexico border in September for the third consecutive month,” and that “Deaths of migrants in Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector more than doubled from 2022 to 2023.”
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
“About 130,000 descendants of Haitian migrants living in the Dominican Republic lack citizenship despite being born there. “Now, human rights groups and Dominicans themselves warn that they are being targeted for expulsion, in an intensified deportation strategy that the government says is aimed at those in the country illegally,” reports the New York Times.” (via Latin America Daily Briefing)
A Curaçao judge ruled the liberation of two Venezuelan children from detention and “that the island's government acted illegally by preventing the reunification of the children with their mothers, who already resided in Willemstad.” (El Pitazo)
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
Amy Pope, the new head of IOM, is calling for “the creation of safer routes for migrants traveling from South and Central America to North America,” reports EFE, noting that in Mexico, “one of the solutions being worked on… would be the creation of a ‘Safe Mobility Office’ in which migrants can have their route facilitated before reaching the border with the United States.”
After bilateral presidential meetings, Panama and Costa Rica are calling urgently for a regional migration conference, reports Prensa Latina.
The two countries also agreed “to provide direct bus transport for migrants traveling northwards. The plan aims to swiftly move migrants from the Darien region of Panama to Costa Rica’s border with Nicaragua… Officials estimate the buses could relocate around 3,000 migrants daily from Panama to the Nicaraguan border. This controlled transfer would provide order and prevent migrants from being stranded in Costa Rican towns,” says Tico Times.
🇨🇴🇵🇦 Panama and Colombia
Panamanian authorities are requesting information from Colombia about migrants entering the Darien Gap. (El Colombiano)
🇵🇦🇺🇸 United States and Panama
“The United States will help Panama develop a program to repatriate migrants who do not have a legal basis to remain in the country or to request asylum... The program responds to a request from the Panamanian authorities," reports La Prensa.” (see last week’s AMB on the US providing aid for deportations)
🇷🇸🇬🇹 Guatemala and Serbia
Guatemala and Serbia officials met to discuss continuing “the negotiation of the agreement on temporary labor migration,” among other topics, reports DCA.
“(Japan’s) government is set to grant “long-term resident” status to fourth-generation Japanese immigrants who meet Japanese language proficiency and other conditions in the hope of tapping a lucrative potential worker resource centered in Latin America,” reports Asahi.
Canadian senators are questioning how the country’s temporary labor migration programs work, calling for “a critical rethink,” and considering the need to ensure workers’ rights. (Immigration, Saltwire)
Migrants in Transit
InSight Crime warns of increasing maritime migration and trafficking from Venezuela to the Dutch Caribbean, noting the risks of human trafficking and the lack of surveillance.
“The Coast Guard and the Aruba Police detained a group of 38 Venezuelan migrants late Monday night” trying to enter the country by sea, reports EVTV.
JRS and SJM published a new report on migration trends in the region.
Mexico’s judiciary ruled it discriminatory to “request an immigration document to buy a bus ticket or board one of these vehicles in order to travel within the country,” reports Aristegui.
🇺🇸 United States
TIME highlights that within the US, the Midwest is attractive for internal migration due to climate change.
Borders and Enforcement
A new decree “establishes amendments to the Criminal Code regarding the conversion of punishment into immediate expulsion,” among other changes. (Andina)
Colombia’s government specified that transport operators (such as buses) must check immigration documents of passengers so as to “prevent and control the irregular transit of migrants in Colombia,” reports Vanguardia.
🇺🇸 United States
“The Biden administration announced they waived 26 federal laws in South Texas to allow border wall construction on Wednesday, marking the administration’s first use of sweeping executive power to pave the way for building more border barriers — a tactic used often during the Trump presidency,” reports AP.
“The United States Coast Guard (USCG) returned 20 rafters to Cuba this Friday… During the last fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2022 and ended on September 30, nearly 7,000 Cubans have been intercepted by the US Coast Guard.” (EFE)
🇭🇳🇨🇷 Costa Rica and Honduras
Costa Rica is applying visa restrictions on Hondurans entering the country. (Criterio)
🇧🇷🇬🇫 French Guiana and Brazil
An estimated 30% of French Guiana’s population is Brazilian, says BBC.
More on Migration
Colombia’s Attorney General's Office opened a preliminary investigation into the Foreign Ministry “for the alleged omission of the comprehensive application of the Comprehensive Migration Policy” in relation to migrants heading north through the Darien Gap. (Cambio)
A new UN infographic explores the profile of migration-related legislation in Peru.
“Some 500,000 Uruguayans want to be Italian but wait years for a turn,” reports El País, noting the greater demand than supply and capacity to process applications at the Italian consulate.
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