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.

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Recent Activity

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Record number of Venezuelans are emigrating to escape the country's economic mismanagement, insecurity, and shortages. This article examines the causes of the current crisis and draws from a study of thousands of Venezuelans abroad to examine who is leaving, where they have headed, and what their hopes are for the future of Venezuela. It also scopes future opportunities for diaspora engagement.

ColombiaIDP BHeger UNHCR

Colombia has more internally displaced persons (IDPs) than any other country in the world, the result of a 52-year civil war. Beyond improving the lives of its 7.3 million IDPs, the country faces a number of crucial migration issues as it works to achieve stability in the wake of an historic peace accord signed in late 2016. This country profile examines historical trends and current and future migration challenges in Colombia.

BorderBus AntAndCarrieColeman Flickr

Two significant migration shifts at the U.S.-Mexico border have been obscured by talk of walls and further border security: Mexicans no longer represent the top unauthorized crossers, replaced by Central Americans seeking protection, and flows are diversifying with increased arrivals of Cubans, Haitians, Asians, and Africans. This article sketches the evolving trends, which have key implications for U.S. and regional migration policy.

OntheRoad MathiasDepardon UNHCR

Smugglers and migrants adapted their paths in light of changing conditions in 2016, including the construction of walls and closure of borders. Cuban and Haitian migrants increasingly chose to make their way to the United States through South and Central America rather than by sea. Meanwhile, migrant flows to Europe have splintered into a wider range of routes, seeking new openings through the Western Balkans.

MexicanGirl CurtCarnemark WorldBank

While Mexican women account for a significant share of migration flows to the United States, there has been little focus on their movement and effects on children in Mexico. This article, based on survey data of children in Puebla, Mexico, explores the impact of maternal Mexican migration on educational experiences and aspirations of the children left behind.

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Video, Audio
September 3, 2015

This webinar includes an overview of regional immigration enforcement trends, including U.S. and Mexican apprehensions and deportations of Central American migrants, along with a demographic, socioeconomic, and criminal profile of child and adult deportees.

EventPH 2014.03.20 Children on the Run An Analysis of First Hand Accounts from Children Fleeing Central America
Video, Audio
March 12, 2014

This event with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres features findings from UNHCR’s report, Children on the Run, which examines the increasing numbers of children from Central America and Mexico who head off alone to find refuge in the United States, fleeing violence, insecurity, and abuse. The discussion provides analysis on the reasons behind the growing migration of this vulnerable population and offers recommendations. Read the report here.

EventPH 2014.2.14 Managing Borders in North America Charting the Future
Video, Audio
February 7, 2014

This panel discussion offers perspectives on border policy management from leading officials in the Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. governments, and showcases the MPI book, "Managing Borders in an Increasingly Borderless World."

EVENT PH 2014.02.05 Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally  A presentation in Guatemala on the Regional Migration Study Group
Video
February 5, 2014

During this public briefing in Guatemala City (conducted in both English and Spanish), the Co-Directors of the Migration Policy Institute-convened Regional Migration Study Group, MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Senior Fellow Doris Meissner, presented the Study Group’s final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration and Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America.

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Video, Audio
May 6, 2013

A panel discussion on the release of the Regional Migration Study Group's final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers in the region.

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Recent Activity

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For more than a century, Haiti was considered a prime destination for migrants from the United States and around the world. In the wake of the Haitian Revolution, Haiti marketed itself to freed slaves and others as an island haven where they could break free from the strictures of the United States and a global system of slavery. That changed in the 20th century. Now, there are roughly 1.6 million Haitians living in other countries.

Policy Briefs
June 2020
The migration cooperation agreement signed by the Mexican and U.S. governments in June 2019 ushered in an intense period of policy change in Mexico, with effects at their shared border. One year on, this brief takes stock of changes in Mexico’s immigration enforcement and asylum systems. It also explores how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the border and highlights opportunities for future policy development.
Audio, Webinars
April 2, 2020

This MPI webinar brought together public health and migration experts to analyze the impact that COVID-19 preventative measures will have on vulnerable immigrants and refugees in Colombia and Latin America. Speakers also discussed how policymakers and international organizations can include migrant populations in their emergency response plans.

Video, Audio, Webinars
February 11, 2020

This webinar marked the launch of a Latin American and Caribbean Migration Portal, and a report examining migration and integration policy responses towards massive Venezuelan displacement.

Articles

As highly industrialized countries ramp up their border controls, human smugglers are playing a central role in moving migrants through key migration corridors around the world. Despite the illicit nature of their work and being cast as villains in the public eye, smugglers have complex, multifaceted relationships with their clients. At times, the relationship can be mutually beneficial or even lifesaving; at others, it can be predatory and dangerous, as this article explores.

Reports
February 2020

Large-scale displacement from Venezuela and Nicaragua is reshaping the migration landscape in much of Latin America and the Caribbean. This report, accompanied by the launch of a new Migration Portal offering research and analysis on the region, examines the immigration and integration policy responses of 11 countries, including pathways to legal status and measures to integrate newcomers into schools, health-care systems, and labor markets.

Articles

Though Colombians displaced by a decades-long civil war found a welcome refuge in Ecuador, life has become more difficult for them in recent years, in part as a result of the influx of Venezuelans seeking safety. This article draws on surveys of migrants in Quito, comparing and contrasting the experiences of Colombians and Venezuelans, and assessing their perceptions of discrimination, victimization, trust in institutions, and hopes for the future.

Video, Audio
October 29, 2019

Leading policymakers and key stakeholders from Latin America, as well as representatives of major international institutions, offer their views on the challenges ahead as Latin American governments seek to chart strategies for responding to large-scale forced migration flows, such as those from Venezuela and Nicaragua. Spanish and English versions of the remarks are available.

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