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Americas Migration Brief - September 25, 2023
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Table of Contents
Integration and Development
A new CIES and GRADE report explores labor market integration of Venezuelans in Peru, highlighting obstacles and outlining a roadmap with a 5-year timeline for promoting regularization.
Folha BV reports on the experience of Venezuelans migrants in Brazil’s Roraima state, bordering Venezuela, noting “favelization,” homelessness, and occupation of settlements.
The Rondonia state government is training a service network on how to help migrants regularize their status and receive documentation. Since 2020, the state has hosted an “Information Center” in the capital of Porto Velho which “has provided services in an integrated manner with municipal, federal and non-governmental bodies.” (press release)
The city of Barranquilla is an example of how to promote integration of migrants alongside urban development, as seen with the Opportunities Center, which provides services to both migrants and non-migrants alike to help them “access the job market through support to prepare resumes, interviews and contact them with job opportunities. specific employment.” (IDB)
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago
Daily Express covers the recent controversy in Trinidad and Tobago surrounding a Venezuelan-born woman winning a national beauty pageant, noting, “non-native Trinidadians have always represented us, particularly in sports,” and arguing, “The xenophobia is misguided since I would argue Venezuela has deeply influenced moments in our national history, culture and language. Historians of pre-Columbian Trinidad would argue that some of our earliest settlers came from Venezuela.”
Criterio highlights calls for greater reintegration efforts for Honduran deportees, including in terms of minors attending school.
“Migrants, including undocumented people, students and refugees, marched in cities across Canada… to demand permanent residency status for all,” reports CBC, noting that there are 1.7 million people on temporary study or work permits in the country.
There are an estimated 10-20,000 irregular Portuguese migrants in Canada, with the Portuguese president saying “that the Government of Canada is open to resolving the situation.” (The Portugal News)
🇺🇸 United States
“Despite an improved situation relative to their countries of birth, many immigrants report facing serious challenges, including high levels of workplace and other discrimination, difficulties making ends meet, and confusion and fears related to U.S. immigration laws and policies,” according to the KFF/LA Times Survey of Immigrants.
Asylum, Protection, and Human Rights
A new Amnesty International report “reveals that Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Chile are failing to comply with their obligations under international law to protect those fleeing Venezuela in order to safeguard their lives, integrity and human rights.” (press release)
“Only one in 10 people seeking refuge in Mexico in 2022 obtained it,” reports La Silla Rota.
Last week, migrants broke into the Refugee Commission (Comar) offices in Tapachula near the border with Guatemala in “a mix of desperation… (amid) the lack of resources from a headquarters that has been collapsed for several years: it receives more than half of the asylum requests from all of Mexico,” says El País. “Some migrants have waited months to begin their immigration process with Comar” in Tapachula, notes Conexión Migrante. Comar is reportedly back to resuming asylum processing services. (Animal Político)
UnoTV reports on calls to open more Comar offices and reduce the concentration of applications attended to in Tapachula.
Noroeste highlights internal displacement due to violence in Mexico and the need for recognition of the issue.
“The mental health of the migrant population is a neglected need in Mexico City,” says MSF, explaining their efforts to attend to migrants’ mental health needs and noting that “Nearly 60% of the population on the move state that their main reason for consultation [with MSF] is having been a victim or witnessed an act of violence.”
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
“Ahead of the tenth anniversary of a judgment that formalized the denationalization of children of people with irregular migratory status, the Dominican Republic must put an end to the structural racism that disproportionately affects tens of thousands of people of Haitian descent… The Dominican Republic has maintained a policy of denying the right to nationality to persons of Haitian descent,” says Amnesty International.
““As violence goes unchecked in Port-au-Prince, displacement within the country is on the rise,” reports the Christian Science Monitor.” (via Latin America Daily Briefing)
“An effort to transfer dozens of disabled Haitian children to safety in Jamaica, after three died because of escalating gang violence, remains deadlocked” due to disagreement among Haitian leaders, reports Miami Herald.
🇺🇸 United States
“The Department of Homeland Security expanded, or redesignated, the Temporary Protected Status program for Venezuelan migrants, allowing recent arrivals to apply for the deportation protections and work permits offered by the policy… An estimated 472,000 additional Venezuelans are expected to qualify for TPS, which has already allowed about 242,000 migrants from that country to obtain the status,” reports CBS.
“Officials also announced that DHS will increase the validity period of work permits from two to five years for many migrants, including asylum-seekers, refugees and green card applicants. The move, officials added, is designed to cut down on the number of renewal applications the agency has to review.” (CBS)
“The Biden administration is considering raising the number of refugees who could be admitted to the United States next year… Last year, Biden set the number at 125,000. Officials will fall short of meeting that goal, but a recent uptick in admissions has fueled renewed optimism in the program among refugee advocates,” reports CNN.
“Between February and March, the arrival number doubled from 3,069 to 6,122. Since March, the USRAP has sustained these arrival numbers, averaging 6,487 people per month, compared to an average of 2,461 arrivals in the first half of the year.” (Niskanen Center)
“Chief executives from a wide array of U.S. companies met White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients on Thursday to discuss refugee resettlement and sponsorship programs as well as ways to help refugees get jobs and access to transport,” reports Reuters.
“Members of the Texas National Guard on Tuesday ordered hundreds of asylum-seekers from US territory back into Mexico in apparent violation of US law, reports El Paso Times.
Cato Institute calls humanitarian parole “a revolution,” explaining that “By July 2023, parole had already redirected about 316,000 people away from long, perilous treks through Mexico and into a legal framework to fly directly from their home countries or third countries to the United States.” However, “The 30,000 cap on CHNV approvals has created such a long backlog (about 1.7 million now) that it has nearly shuttered the program to new applicants… One reason for the cap is the cost of adjudicating applications.”
WOLA’s Adam Isacson highlights stories related to the US-Mexico border and human rights at the Beyond the Wall weekly update, explaining, “Arrivals of migrants, mostly asylum seekers, at the U.S.-Mexico border rose to about 8,000 per day this week, a level last seen in April 2023 before the termination of the Title 42 policy.”
Migratory Institutions and Regional and Bilateral Cooperation
At the UN General Assembly, multiple countries called for greater international coordination and financial support in response to irregular migration and for their reception of migrants in the Americas, including Panama (DW, Bloomberg), Costa Rica (La Nación), and Ecuador (Primicias). Colombia’s Petro highlighted migration related to climate change (Eco).
“On September 18, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken convened the first ministerial meeting of the Resettlement Diplomacy Network (RDN) on the margins of the 78th UN General Assembly,” including participation from Australia, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, among others. (press release)
Niskanen Center highlights the role of US Regional Processing Centers in Latin America for managing mixed migration.
🇵🇦🇨🇴 Colombia and Panama
Colombia and Panama’s presidents met and discussed migration, although tensions persist with differing perspectives, says La Estrella de Panamá.
🇨🇷🇵🇦 Panama and Costa Rica
Panama is looking to work with Costa Rica in order to “prevent irregular migrants from remaining on the Costa Rican border for longer than a certain period of time,” reports Telemetro.
🇺🇸🇲🇽 Mexico and United States
“Mexico has made an agreement with the United States to deport migrants from its border cities to their home countries and take several actions to deter migrants,” reports CNN.
Mexico’s AMLO wants to meet with US’s Biden in Washington in November to discuss migration, says AP.
🇭🇳🇸🇻 El Salvador and Honduras
“Salvadoran and Honduran officials have delved into the border’s situation to bolster a process of Integration towards the Free Transit of Goods and Natural Persons on that area.” (Prensa Latina)
🇧🇴🇦🇷 Argentina and Bolivia
Argentina and Bolivia signed “a roadmap that establishes 35 coordinated actions in the fight against human trafficking, migrant smuggling and related crimes.” (press release)
🇧🇿🇲🇽 Mexico and Belize
Mexican and Belizean officials will meet to discuss border enforcement and surveillance. (Noticaribe)
10 countries from the region met alongside the International Labour Organization and others to discuss labor migration, setting forth seven priorities, including in support of facilitating title recognition and creating resource centers to provide comprehensive services to working migrants and refugees. (press release)
So far this year, 4,319 Guatemalans have taken part in labor migration programs abroad. (AGN)
“Canada announces first-ever category-based selection invitations for newcomers with work experience in transport.” (press release)
Highlighting the case of migrant farmworkers in Canada’s British Columbia, Policy Note writes, “migrant farmworkers find themselves doubly displaced, facing droughts and inundations in their home countries, then heatwaves, fires and floods where they come to work.”
Migrants in Transit
Migration Information Source explores “How the Treacherous Darien Gap Became a Migration Crossroads of the Americas.”
OjoPúblico explores the regional migration panorama in the last two decades.
“In Mexico, people coming from South America are outpacing those from Central America for the first time since data has been collected,” reports New York Times, noting the country’s difficulties in responding to record migration.
“Mexican railroad operator Ferromex has temporarily suspended operations of 60 trains on northbound routes, the company said on Tuesday, after nearly half a dozen deaths or injuries of migrants using the cargo trains to travel,” reports Reuters.
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
Al Jazeera reports on Haitians leaving the Dominican Republic after the border closure (see last week’s AMB), noting, “They’re going voluntarily. Sort of. Most of the Haitians that we spoke to say they have faced pressure or harassment from Dominican security forces to leave.”
“From January 1 to September 17, 2023, 419,101 migrants passed through Honduras, 176,103 from Venezuela, 71,480 from Cuba, 54,147 from Ecuador, 39,398 from Haiti and in smaller quantities from Colombia, China, Senegal, Mauritania, Uzbekistan and other countries. Last year there were 188,000.” (France24)
“Though not the lone factor driving migration, the impacts of global warming are exacerbating the agricultural and economic strains that lead people to leave,” reports Earthbeat, highlighting the case of Honduras within the Central American Dry Corridor.
Senegalese migrants are turning to Nicaragua as an entry point to the Americas en route to the US as it is a less dangerous route than traveling to Europe via the Canary Islands, says Le Monde.
“Nearly 700,000 people have migrated internally in Peru due to the effects of climate change,” reports IPS, highlighting the impact of El Niño in the country.
Suriname is experiencing increased emigration of young professionals due to economic struggles in the country, says France-Guyane.
Um Só Planeta highlights stories of climate change-related migration to Brazil.
Borders and Enforcement
“The National Migration Service (SNM) created the Directorate of Migration Operations and Control to ensure the verification of compliance with migration rules, regulations and procedures for the orderly and safe entry and exit of persons into and out of the country,” reports La Estrella de Panamá.
🇺🇸 United States
“New research from TRAC at Syracuse University finds that 180,000 new deportation cases were added to the immigration courts in August, the largest number ever for a single month,” notes Austin Kocher on Substack.
🇺🇸 United States
“The immigrant share of the U.S. population rose just 0.3 percentage points from 13.6 to 13.9 percent from July 2021 to July 2022; the total immigrant population—legal and illegal—grew less than 1 million during that time… nearly 2 million immigrants (less growth) than the Census Bureau’s 2017 projection for 2022,” says Cato Institute.
According to Ecuador’s census, there are 425,000 immigrants in the country—representing 2.5% of the population—of which 54.5% are Venezuelan. That is, there are around 232,000 Venezuelans in the country according to the census, in comparison to 475,000 per government numbers reported to R4V. (El Telégrafo, CNN)
More on Migration
A new Inter-American Dialogue presentation explores migration and remittances in Guatemala.