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Americas Migration Brief - September 11, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago
“Only just over 100 Venezuelan students” have been deemed eligible to take part in the Trinidad school system so far after a recent move to expand access; about 1,000 of those not included have resorted to a virtual educational system, out of a total estimated population of 6,700 immigrant children, reports Newsday. (see last week’s AMB)
A Pública highlights the over 9,000 Indigenous Venezuelan migrants in Brazil and their struggle for visibility.
Belize’s amnesty regularization program “initially targeted some forty thousand persons, but only an estimated twelve thousand had signed up at its closing,” reports LoveFM, noting that the program is still viewed as a model. (see AMB 7/3/23 and 6/26/23 on the program)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rica is resuming the applications for the Temporary Special Category regularization program. (La Prensa)
Chile has yet to develop new regulations for foreign professional title validation, reports Infomigra.
🇺🇸 United States
A new Baker Institute paper finds that providing status (regularizing) undocumented immigrants in the US could “translate to roughly $14 billion per year in additional labor market earnings.”
“Under federal law, migrants have to wait about six months after they file their asylum applications to apply for permission to work in the United States… In the last week, federal officials have sent more than one million text messages to migrants across the country who are eligible for permits to work in the United States but have not yet applied for them,” reports New York Times.
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
“Record numbers of children are migrating across Latin America and the Caribbean with more than 60,000 children risking life and limb to cross the treacherous Darién Gap jungle pass this year,” notes The Guardian, citing a new UNICEF report that finds that “about one in four people on the move (25 per cent) is a child, up from 19 per cent in 2019.”
“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) calls on the States of the region to continue adopting measures to ensure equal protection of the non-derogable right to nationality. It also urges States to refrain from adopting measures that arbitrarily deprive persons of their nationality and place certain groups at risk of statelessness.” (press release)
A new Jesuit Network with Migrants report explores forced migration across the region, arguing that advances in terms of responsive legal frameworks, including for asylum and refuge, “suffer from being more declarative than operative.”
“Ongoing fighting in the Port-au-Prince district of Carrefour-Feuilles, which has about twenty neighborhoods, has essentially emptied the area of residents, reports HAÏTI MAGAZINE. There are at least 16,500 displaced people in makeshift camps, gymnasiums or schools outside the conflict zones, according to the latest report from IOM and Haitian Civil Protection,” notes Jordana Timerman at Latin America Daily Briefing. (see last week’s AMB on continued deportations to Haiti)
“The Hemispheric Network for Haitian Migrants’ Rights was launched in May 2023 to support the work of Haitian leaders and advocates, pool much needed resources, and demand the humane treatment of Haitian people in a time of acute crisis,” says NACLA.
Over 15,000 persons were displaced from their homes as a result of a cyclone hitting southern Brazil. (Jornal do Brasil)
🇺🇸 United States
“The Biden administration is considering forcing some migrant families who enter the country without authorization to remain near the border in Texas while awaiting asylum screening, effectively limiting their ability to travel within the United States,” reports LA Times.
The US already tried this on a small scale in the late 1980s, “but soon after a federal court ruled that Salvadorans and Guatemalans needed do- over hearings,” says Refugees International’s Yael Schacher on Twitter.
“Mexico does this. Most asylum seekers must wait for months in a city near the Guatemalan border. The main effect is unnecessary suffering. People with housing, jobs, and family waiting for them in other places end up sleeping on the street,” says Human Rights Watch’s Tyler Mattiace on Twitter, highlighting some of HRW’s work on the issue.
“A federal appeals court on Thursday allowed Texas’ floating barrier on a section of the Rio Grande to stay in place for now, a day after a judge called the buoys a threat to the safety of migrants and relations between the U.S. and Mexico” and ordered them removed from the water, reports AP.
Reliance on unsupervised AI translation programs is preventing asylum seekers in the US from receiving a fair case, reports The Guardian, explaining that “problems with the translation tools occur throughout the asylum process, from border stations to detention centers to immigration courts.”
A new rule proposed by the Biden administration “would codify judges' authority to manage their own caseloads—a critical step towards addressing backlogs.” (Kathleen Bush-Joseph and Aaron Reichlin-Melnick on Twitter)
36,000 Venezuelans applied for asylum in the European Union and Switzerland and Norway in the first half of 2023. (Efecto Cocuyo)
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
The US Regional Processing Centers are looking to “speed up processing significantly, with the goal of reducing it to a matter of months,” but “critics fear the centres may leave asylum seekers waiting in unsafe conditions abroad, vulnerable to the very dangers they fled,” reports Al Jazeera.
US “Homeland Security Advisor Dr. Liz Sherwood-Randall led an interagency delegation to Panama and Colombia to advance our joint efforts with regional partners to address the urgent humanitarian situation and growing migration challenge in the Darien jungle region.” (press release)
Panama and Colombia’s presidents are planning to meet to discuss migration on September 19. (El Heraldo)
Guatemalan deputies will introduce a new draft National Migration Policy on September 26 and have conducted consultations with some civil society and experts. (press release)
🇨🇴🇻🇪 Venezuela and Colombia
Venezuela announced that it is reopening 5 consulates in Colombia, following the reopening of the Cúcuta consulate in May—the first active one in 4 years. (El Pitazo)
“Brazil has introduced two immigration pathways for eligible citizens of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) to live and work in Brazil for up to two years,” reports Fragomen.
🇧🇸 The Bahamas
The Bahamas “will be conducting a comprehensive review of immigration procedures,” reports Loop, adding that the country recently created a new Ministry of Immigration.
🇩🇴🇨🇺 Cuba and Dominican Republic
Cuban and Dominican officials met to discuss migration between the two countries. (Prensa Latina)
🇨🇴🇲🇽 Mexico and Colombia
Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador visited Colombia to discuss migration, among other topics. (El Colombiano)
The UN Special Rapporteur on modern slavery criticized exploitation of migrant workers in Canada and called on the government “to intensify its efforts to safeguard workers’ rights and offer a clear pathway to permanent residency for all migrants.” (press release)
Migrants in Transit
According to a survey of 13 Latin American countries by the European Investment Bank, “54% of respondents believe that they may have to move to another region or country due to climate change,” including a high of 61% among surveyed Ecuadorians, reports Semana.
R4V has published a new map on Venezuelan migration stocks across the region, including explanations for increases and decreases in different countries and noting 7.71 million Venezuelans in the diaspora.
IOM has published a new report on migration trends across the Americas.
Civil society in Ecuador estimates that around 70,000 Venezuelan migrants have abandoned the country so far this year, alongside 120,000 doing so in 2022, a great increase from previous years. (2001)
The second boat of Haitians migrants in two months arrived in Jamaica last week. (Jamaica Observer)
🇨🇱🇵🇪 Peru and Chile
Dozens of Venezuelans, Colombians, Ecuadorians, and Haitians leaving Chile are stranded at the Peru-Chile border, blocked by Peruvian authorities due to their irregular status. (Infobae)
Curaçao authorities warn of increased smuggling of Venezuelan migrant children to the country, while overall visa requests from Venezuelans to the Caribbean Netherlands have tripled. (El Pitazo, 721News, Efecto Cocuyo)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Eco reports on migrants stuck in Paso Canoas, in southern Costa Rica, en route north.
The press, academia, and legislation tend to frame extracontinental transit migration through Colombia with migrant smuggling, but this “fails to account for the range of ways the journey can be interpreted and instead stigmatizes and criminalizes the spontaneous or disinterested relationships that can emerge in transit, denying the capacity for agency of people on the move,” says a new Secuencia paper. (via Forced Migration Current Awareness)
Proceso highlights that over 1,000 elderly migrants (81-90 years old) have traveled through Honduras so far this year en route to the US.
Borders and Enforcement
Todd Miller writes at The Border Chronicle about externalized US border enforcement measures across the hemisphere, highlighting the newsletter’s recent podcast with Caitlyn Yates that notes biometric review of some migrants crossing through the Darien Gap.
“Panama announced on Friday new measure to curb rising migrant crossings through the Darien Gap… Authorities will increase deportations of people with criminal records and slash the number of days some tourists are allowed to stay from 90 to 15 days, immigration officials said in a press conference… Panama will also increase financial thresholds at its checkpoints, requiring people expecting to stay 90 days to show proof of funds of at least $1,000, rather than the $500 it previously expected.” (Reuters)
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
CNN reports that the Dominican government closed their border with Haiti last Wednesday.
A meeting between Haitian and Dominican officials concluded with “no agreement” about the closing of the border, says Al Momento.
“The Commission on Principles, Civil and Political Rights of (Chile’s) Constitutional Council approved this Tuesday the amendment that proposes the expulsion of foreigners who enter Chile through unauthorized passages… ‘except in cases of refuge or asylum expressly contemplated in ratified international treaties,’” reports CNN. (for context on Chile’s constitutional convention process, check out Jordana Timerman’s Chile Update newsletter)
🇺🇸 United States
“Barrier construction along the United States’ southern border has damaged sensitive ecosystems, public lands and Indigenous cultural sites,” reports Al Jazeera.
After preliminary data from a new census showed Uruguay’s population slowdown, the country is considering policies to increase the population, including both increasing birthrates and attracting immigration. (Infobae)
More on Migration
In Latin America and the Caribbean, “Remittances are projected to grow by 9 percent in 2023, and remain five percent of regional GDP with growth rates diverging from country to country. While remittances will increase by 50 percent in Nicaragua, declines are being observed in the Caribbean countries of Jamaica and Haiti,” according to a new Inter-American Dialogue presentation.
IOM has published new migration governance profiles on the Mexican states of Nuevo León and Zacatecas. The profile covers approximately 90 indicators to evaluate migration governance and identify both well-developed areas and areas for further development.