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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.

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An estimated 7 percent of people in Mexico were not registered with the government at birth and thus lack official record of their name, age, parentage, and citizenship. Without a birth certificate, unregistered Mexican children lack access to education, health care, and basic social services, while unregistered adults face significant economic and civic-integration challenges. Both groups are more vulnerable to being trafficked, exploited, or recruited into criminal groups. This article provides a primer on this important issue, with insight into the experiences of unregistered, unauthorized Mexican immigrants in the United States.

Migration to and through Mexico has been a critical policy issue for the Mexican government since the 1980s, as large numbers of Central Americans have flowed in through the country's porous southern border, first in flight during times of civil war and humanitarian crises and later in pursuit of greater economic opportunity in the United States.

With about 10 percent of Moroccan and Mexican citizens living abroad, remittances have become a vital source of income and poverty alleviation for both countries. Hein de Haas and Simona Vezzoli of the International Migration Institute, University of Oxford explore how migration has affected development and ways to reframe the migration-development debate.

This former British colony in the Caribbean, once a destination for forced and indentured labor from across the globe, has experienced large emigration flows of both skilled and unskilled workers and their families to the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada over the last half century. As Alex Glennie and Laura Chappell of the Institute for Public Policy Research explain, the Jamaican government has a number of strategies to limit brain drain and to encourage return.

Migration from Latin America to the United States and Europe appears to have slowed in the wake of the recent global financial crisis. As Jacqueline Mazza and Eleanor Sohnen of the Inter-American Development Bank report, flows between Latin American countries expanded in the 1990s and are still growing, crisis or not, and some countries are taking a more regional approach to managing migration.

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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.

Reports
May 2017

The revolving door of return migration is slowing significantly for Mexican adults deported or voluntarily returned by the U.S. government, with the number intending to attempt re-entry dropping 80 percent between 2005 and 2015. Drawing from an official survey of Mexican returnees, this report explores the years of residence repatriated Mexican adults spent in the United States, time in detention, and minor children left behind.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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In the wake of a hurricane that has once again devastated Haiti, the United States quickly reversed its toughened policy toward the thousands of Haitian nationals arriving at the California-Mexico border without prior authorization. This Policy Beat examines the shifts in U.S. admission and deportation policy toward Haitian migrants since the 2010 earthquake, and other national and state developments on immigration.

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In contrast to increasingly restrictive approaches to migration in the global North—and recent skepticism towards Europe's free mobility project—South America is taking steps in the other direction, toward free movement for regional migrants. This article examines the emerging South American model and discusses its implications for migration in the region and for free movement in general.

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