E.g., 06/21/2022
E.g., 06/21/2022
Latin America and Caribbean Initiative

Latin America and Caribbean Initiative

MPI’s Latin America and Caribbean Initiative acts as a policy laboratory to develop evidence-based research and innovative, effective policy solutions for the migration challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean.
A map showing Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean highlighted in teal
Once thought of primarily as a region of emigration, countries across Latin America and the Caribbean are confronting new and increasingly complex migration and humanitarian pressures, including the integration of millions of Venezuelan migrants and asylum seekers who have fled their country since 2014 and the management of regional migration flows across Central and North America.

The Initiative produces research, trends and policy analysis, and policy design; provides technical assistance; and organizes private convenings and public events to inform the decisions of policymakers, the private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders as they respond to evolving trends and policy developments.

Current focus areas include legal pathways, immigrant integration, migration and development, and regional cooperation on migration management.

Para leer las investigaciones de la Iniciativa en español, haga clic aquí.

Recent Activity

Laying the Foundation for Regional Cooperation: Migration Policy and Institutional Capacity in Mexico and Central America
Reports
April 2021
By  Andrew Selee, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Andrea Tanco, Luis Argueta and Jessica Bolter
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Reports
March 2021
By  Camille Le Coz, Samuel Davidoff-Gore, Timo Schmidt, Susan Fratzke, Andrea Tanco, Maria Belen Zanzuchi and Jessica Bolter
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Commentaries
February 2021
By  Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan and Diego Chaves-González
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Policy Briefs
September 2020
By  Dany Bahar, Meagan Dooley and Andrew Selee
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Fact Sheets
August 2020
By  Diego Chaves-González and Carlos Echeverría-Estrada

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A woman walks alongside a train in Mexico.

In recent years, women from Central America have begun to make up a greater share of migrant apprehensions in Mexico and at the U.S. Southwest border. Systemic insecurity, poverty, and corruption are among the factors driving women and others to flee. This article explores the increase in female migration from Central America and the challenges these women face on their journey.

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In Brazil, where the majority of colonial-era residents were African slaves and their children, millions of immigrants have joined a conversation about race and identity that continues today. Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan, as well as significant European, Latin American, and Middle Eastern populations. This country profile explores historical and contemporary migration patterns in Brazil.

Mexican workers in Canada

Together, Canada, Mexico, and the United States are home to nearly one-quarter of the world's migrants. Despite shifts in the profile of those who migrate and changing demographic realities across the region, such as population aging, perceptions and policies remain set in earlier eras. This article explores the intersection of migration and population dynamics in North America and the Northern Triangle of Central America.

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Chile's immigrant population has more than quadrupled since the country emerged from dictatorship in the early 1990s. As immigration has grown and moved away from its European roots to become more diverse, it has emerged as a hot-button political issue, complicating longstanding efforts to reform the country's 1975 immigration law. This article explores Chile's shift to the right on immigration, and how policies might evolve under the presidency of conservative Sebastián Piñera.

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Migration surged throughout South America in 2017, challenging governments to keep up with inflows. Brazil, Colombia, and Peru worked to process record numbers of Venezuelan asylum applications, and launched special visa programs for some new arrivals. While the government responses have been largely welcoming, the illegal immigration of Haitians provoked more restrictive policy reactions in Chile and Argentina.

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MPI Event Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian
Video, Audio
January 30, 2019

With more than 3 million Venezuelans having fled their country in crisis, this event features the release of an MPI-OAS report that examines the creative responses that host countries in Latin America are providing. These include the opening of legal pathways to residence, access to formal labor markets, and greater use of forms of ID for recognition.

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Video, Audio
December 5, 2018

Over 3 million Venezuelans have fled in response to the deepening political and economic crisis in their country, becoming one of the largest and fastest outflows anywhere in the world. Senior officials from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, which are home to more than half of these Venezuelan migrants and refugees, discussed their countries' responses to this migration and other experts talked on the broader trend across the region and the prospects for future policy responses.

Event PH 2018.6.5 Andrew Selee
Video, Audio
June 5, 2018

Marking the release of MPI President Andrew Selee's latest book, speakers explore emerging trends in migration, economic interdependence, technology innovation, and cultural exchange that are transforming the relationship between the United States and Mexico, and the policy implications of these changes for the future.

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Video, Audio
December 15, 2015

An MPI Leadership Visions discussion with the Foreign Minister of Mexico, Claudia Ruiz-Massieu, for her first public appearance in Washington, DC. 

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Webinars
December 11, 2015

A webinar releasing a report examining deportations to Central America and reception and reintegration services in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

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Recent Activity

Reports
April 2021

The countries in the region that stretches from Panama to the U.S.-Mexico border face an important opportunity to strengthen cooperation on migration. This report examines key building blocks that can lay the foundation for regional cooperation. In addition to assessing institutional capacity, legal frameworks, and migration policies, it also identifies key areas for capacity-building efforts.

Expert Q&A, Audio
March 26, 2021

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have left Central America in recent years, and climate extremes have been identified as one of the factors that might be driving this movement, along with elements such as political instability and violence. In this episode, we hear from geographer and climatologist Diego Pons, of Colorado State University, to dissect how changing climate, food insecurity, and migration intersect in this region.

Reports
March 2021

Ten years into Syria's conflict, Syrians remain the largest refugee population worldwide. As they face limited prospects for resettlement or safe return, how can host countries and donors promote resilience for refugees and host communities alike? This report offers examples of creative policy solutions in the areas of protection, social protection, education, livelihoods, and health care from displacement contexts in 16 countries.

Commentaries
February 2021

Colombian President Iván Duque’s announcement that the estimated 1.7 million Venezuelans in Colombia will receive a ten-year protection status represents a bold, first-of-its-kind move in Latin America. However, translating this ambitious legalization into action will require both a massive logistical effort and long-term planning to assure social cohesion, as this commentary explores.

Articles

Climate change has had a devastating impact on many poor Central American farmers, which can contribute to food insecurity and may be prompting migration from the region's Dry Corridor. But the process is not straightforward. As this article explains, most poor farmers rely on a combination of buying, cultivating, and foraging for their food, which makes it difficult to predict how people will react to individual climate events.

Reports
November 2020

Addressing regional cooperation around migration will be among the immigration challenges and opportunities facing the incoming Biden administration. This report examines how movement between the United States, Mexico, and Central America has evolved in recent decades, and lays out a four-part strategy to expand opportunities for legal migration, address humanitarian protection needs, improve enforcement, and mitigate some of the forces driving people to emigrate.

Policy Briefs
September 2020

More than 4 million Venezuelans have moved to other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, raising concerns about how these arrivals are affecting receiving communities. Some politicians and pundits have asserted that migration is leading to an increase in crime—a claim this issue brief finds misplaced based on examination of official data from Chile, Colombia, and Peru.

Fact Sheets
August 2020

As Latin American and Caribbean countries face a dual challenge—managing large-scale Venezuelan arrivals alongside the COVID-19 pandemic—reliable data on the characteristics of newcomers are essential to policymaking. This MPI-IOM fact sheet offers a profile of refugees and migrants in 11 countries in the region, including their demographics, labor market participation, remittance sending, access to health care, trip details, and intention to return to Venezuela.

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