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Americas Migration Brief - October 16, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
A new Migration Policy Institute report “examines how regularization efforts have affected Venezuelans’ labor market integration. It looks closely at the case of Colombia, which has received the most displaced Venezuelans and operated the region’s largest regularization program, as well as at other countries that make up the Quito Process, which has made Venezuelans’ socioeconomic integration a top priority.”
La Silla Vacía explores migrant regularizations in Colombia, arguing “It is good news that the government is studying new regularization mechanisms, however, the key to success lies in how this process is implemented” and advising that any new policy builds on past programs and does not start from scratch.
Colombia’s National Housing Fund will provide a new subsidy of “0.45 current legal monthly minimum wages” to assist Venezuelan migrants living in Bogotá with paying rent, reports RCN Radio.
In a new report, Fundación Ideas Para La Paz and Equilibrium CenDe explore the policy platforms of different candidates for mayorships in Colombia’s upcoming regional elections, highlighting the importance of integration. (see also last week’s AMB)
Colombia’s Attorney General’s Office has released a statement calling for no discrimination against migrants or others during campaigns.
Civil society members are calling for the Chilean state to recognize institutional racism against those of African descent and to provide protection, regularization pathways, and access to healthcare for Haitian and Afro-descendent migrants in the country. (ISHR)
A Migrant Assistance Office was opened in Iquique “to provide training, legal advice, support in the search for employment, guidance and accompaniment to migrants who enter through the north of the country,” reports Caritas.
“The Mexican law on refuge, complementary protection and political asylum allows access to education for refugee children and adolescents. Many teachers have opened spaces for all, although their schools require a lot of support and supplies,” says The Yucatan Times.
Schools are a “refuge” for Venezuelan children in Uruguay, says El Observador, but “nearly four out of every ten newly arrived children lack activities outside of school hours and a fifth expressed emotional discomfort.”
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
Members of Mexico’s armed forces allegedly killed two migrants and injured an additional four, reports El País.
“The Mexican supreme court is poised to give new life to… the “Remain in Mexico” policy, officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols… a Trump-era policy that forced people seeking asylum in the US to wait out their legal proceedings in Mexico for months or even years,” reports The Guardian, explaining the trajectory of the policy on both sides of the border.
“Canada will welcome up to 11,000 Colombians, Haitians and Venezuelans through a new humanitarian permanent residence pathway,” per a press release; the country will also increase aid “for capacity-building efforts in the region by investing $75 million over six years for projects across Latin America and the Caribbean. These projects focus on strengthening asylum capacity and better integrating migrants and refugees into local communities and labour markets.”
Afghans waiting in Pakistan to emigrate to Canada are at risk of deportation, reports CBC, noting calls for the Canadian government to process paperwork faster.
🇰🇾 Cayman Islands
“A citizen-led rescue effort to save a group of Cubans whose makeshift boat capsized close to Cayman Brac provided a rare glimpse of the ‘invisible shipwrecks’ responsible for hundreds of deaths each year in the Caribbean Sea. Eight people were rescued after one of the Cubans swam for miles through the night to reach the Brac and raise the alarm. Two of his companions are still missing, feared drowned, the latest victims in an unfolding humanitarian crisis in the region,” reports Cayman Compass.
“At least four migrants died and fifteen were injured this Sunday in western Honduras, when the bus in which they were traveling to the border with Guatemala plunged into a ravine,” reports Efecto Cocuyo.
After Brazil simplified access to asylum for LGBT asylum seekers (see AMB 5/22/23), the government has “granted refuge to more than 120 people who have made asylum requests in the country since May, alleging persecution due to their sexual orientation or gender identity in their countries of origin,” reports Ninja.
“Nearly 200,000 people are now internally displaced in Haiti, of which roughly 70,000 find themselves in inadequate and precarious spontaneous settlements and collective centres, 31,000 are sleeping in the open air and 34,000 are crammed into classrooms,” says IOM in a call for “USD 21 million to ensure better protection and shelter conditions.”
🇺🇸 United States
“A migrant in a waiting area between two border walls has died this week after a medical emergency,” reports AP.
Reuters highlights record numbers of deaths of migrants in the desert.
“A federal judge on Friday denied a bid by immigration advocates to prohibit U.S. officials from turning away asylum-seekers at border crossings with Mexico if they don’t have appointments on (CBPOne),” reports AP.
“Since this ruling is still early in the life cycle of the legal case, it does not mean that Al Otro Lado and Haitian Bridge have lost the case, only that the initial attempt to pause the use of CBP One was not successful,” says Austin Kocher on Substack.
“Targeted kidnappings and violence against asylum seekers and migrants in Mexico as they wait for and with CBP One appointments have sharply escalated in recent months, with estimates of a 45% to 50% increase in some areas,” says Human Rights First.
The US redesignated Cameroon for TPS until 2025, reports Reuters, noting that “the TPS extension allows 2,090 people currently under the program to remain through June 7, 2025, and an estimated 7,900 additional Cameroonians in the United States to apply.”
“More than 40 members of Congress, including four representing South Florida, wrote President Biden and administration officials this week urging them” to redesignate Nicaraguans for TPS, reports WLRN.
Statehouse News highlights calls for TPS for Mauritania, where Black Mauritanians are “systemically oppressed” and “Slavery isn’t a thing of the past.”
“A large-scale arrival of asylum-seeking migrants will always pose a challenge. But it would be manageable if the U.S. government invested in the personnel and infrastructure necessary for processing, alternatives to detention, and adjudication,” says WOLA, noting, “659 immigration judges are currently trying to work through a backlog of 2.1 million cases, including at least 850,000 pending asylum cases.”
WOLA’s Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at the Beyond the Wall weekly update, noting that “After three months of sharp growth, migration may be leveling off or even declining since mid-September, according to partial data and anecdotal evidence,” and that “On October 12 the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus published a joint statement urging the Biden administration to reconsider a proposal to fund deportations of migrants from Panama to their home countries.” (see last week’s AMB)
A court ruling in Iceland denied asylum to three Venezuelans, putting in limbo the futures of some 1,500 Venezuelans in the country, according to Primicia. El País highlights the situation of Venezuelans (and other migrants) in Iceland.
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
“Mexico’s president said Tuesday that he rejected a U.S. request to set up migrant transit centers in Mexico,” reports AP, referring to the Regional Processing Centers (Safe Mobility) initiative. “López Obrador has so far rejected a U.S. request to set up sites in Mexico, noting he would prefer to have such centers in countries that are the sources of migration, despite the fact that a considerable number of migrants enter the United States from Mexico. López Obrador said that he would raise the subject in a meeting of Latin American leaders he will host later this month, suggesting that the countries might agree to a common plan on such sites.”
Mexico will host the meeting on October 22. “Among those expected to attend are Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, Cuba, Costa Rica, Panama and Belize.” (AP)
“Costa Rica is willing to host a migration summit that includes the countries of origin and transit of migrants, but also those of destination, the United States and Canada… This meeting could be "a second step" after the summit called for the next 22nd by the Mexican president,” reports EFE.
Members of the Central American Integration System (SICA) met to discuss migration and “agreed to develop a joint position” and sign an agreement on the topic, reports ANP.
🇻🇪🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela
Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela are “on the cusp” of signing a memorandum of understanding “to combat human and narcotics trafficking, migrant smuggling and other forms of transnational organised crime,” reports Sunday Express.
More than 100 Nicaraguans currently in Costa Rica will take part in a pilot labor migration and resettlement program sending them to Spain, reports La Prensa.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Both Costa Rican and migrant workers in the coffee sector “will be protected by an occupational risk policy in the upcoming 2023-2024 harvest,” with more than 21,000 migrant workers estimated to benefit from the coverage. (Prensa Latina)
“Work visas (in Chile fell) 59% in the first semester due to the end of the regulation process and fewer job offers,” reports La Tercera.
Migrants in Transit
“Latin American countries are highly exposed to the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, which influences the way people move,” highlights El Espectador.
“Central America’s Dry Corridor is a region that has suffered a series of debilitating droughts and storms over the past decade, weather extremes are linked to climate change that have hit subsistence farmers hard. Climate change is a growing factor pushing people in the region to migrate, reports Reuters,” focusing on the impacts in Guatemala. (via Latin America Daily Briefing)
Animal Politico highlights increasing African migration across the Americas to the US.
🇭🇹🇩🇴 Dominican Republic and Haiti
“After the impasse that arose on the border with the diversion of the Masacre River towards the Haitian side… some 87 thousand Haitians left voluntarily from the Dominican Republic,” reports El Nacional. (see AMB 9/18/23 on the border closure)
Another group of Haitian migrants have arrived by boat to Jamaica, reports Observer.
Protests and blockades in Guatemala have slowed migration north through the country, says La-Lista.
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
“Taxi drivers, informal merchants and civic organizations from Costa Rica” temporarily closed the border with Panama at Paso Canoas over the coordinated busing initiative with Panama (see last week’s AMB), arguing that this has negatively impacted their sales, reports tvn.
“Nearly 100,000 citizens have left Ecuador so far in 2023,” reports Prensa Latina, adding that a recent survey indicates that “47 percent of Ecuadorians would like to migrate if they had resources.”
“Everything has become a business” at the Honduran border amid record levels of migrants in transit, reports Criterio.
Borders and Enforcement
🇺🇸 United States
“Whether it is the Trump regime’s racist overtures to pump up a “big, beautiful border wall” or the Democrats’ calls for a humane yet orderly border, the result has been the same: rising border budgets year after year, increasing fortification, more physical and virtual walls, and more detention centers and deportations. The CBP and ICE budgets in 2023 have yet again eclipsed the highest previous amount, and they now include a record number of contracts to private industry,” says The Border Chronicle.
“On Saturday, Mexico returned 138 Cubans who migrated irregularly… in the first operation of this type carried out since March,” reports DW. Cuba was one of the countries with which Mexico was seeking to establish a new deportation agreement (see AMB 10/2/23).
🇨🇷🇭🇳 Honduras and Costa Rica
🇺🇸 United States
“As the U.S. fertility rate continues to fall, there are growing concerns about the long-term economic impact: A smaller population means less tax revenue, which could reduce funding for programs such as Social Security and Medicare. But immigration policy reform could be one solution,” reports CNBC.
More on Migration
Catherine Osborn at Foreign Policy’s Latin America Brief highlights the role of diasporas in the Americas in relation to Latin American countries’ responses to Israeli-Palestinian conflict, noting that “Chile, for its part, is home to the largest Palestinian diaspora outside of the Middle East… and the public conversation about the escalating situation in Israel-Palestine over the past week has often taken a more long-term, historical perspective than elsewhere in the Americas.”
An investigation by OCCRP and partners reveals that the likes of “An Afghan official accused of human rights abuses, a Libyan colonel who served under Gaddafi, and Saddam Hussein’s top nuclear scientist are among… (the) 7,700 people who bought into Dominica’s ‘citizenship by investment’ program, which allows the purchase of a passport for a base price of $100,000.”
“Although it is a useful source of revenue in several Caribbean jurisdictions, Barbados is not considering selling citizenship to wealthy foreigners, though it will introduce a point-based system in new legislation… that could ultimately see persons qualifying under a new and expanded basis to apply for citizenship, as opposed to the limited criteria which exists now,” reports Observer.
“The Chamber of Deputies approved the Proposed Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) that ends the automatic loss of Brazilian citizenship for anyone who obtains another nationality. As it had already received approval from the Senate, the matter went directly to promulgation, which occurred on October 3rd,” reports MigraMundo.