E.g., 06/17/2024
E.g., 06/17/2024
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

President Joe Biden in Mexico City.
Cover image for Converging Crises
Reports
March 2024
By  Luisa Feline Freier, Andrea Kvietok and Leon Lucar Oba
A Haitian child looks over his mother's shoulder in Panama
Commentaries
October 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte
A man with potatoes in Ecuador
Cover image for A Winding Path to Integration...
Reports
October 2023
By  Diego Chaves-González and Natalia Delgado
Migrants in the Darien Gap village of Canaan Membrillo, Panama.
Articles
Haitians at a medical site in Jeremie, Haiti.
Articles

Pages

Cover image for Converging Crises
Reports
March 2024
By  Luisa Feline Freier, Andrea Kvietok and Leon Lucar Oba
Cover image for A Winding Path to Integration...
Reports
October 2023
By  Diego Chaves-González and Natalia Delgado
Cover image for Migration Narratives in Northern Central America
Reports
June 2023
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Aaron Clark-Ginsberg, Alejandra Lopez and Alejandro Vélez Salas
Cover image for Migration, Integration, and Diaspora Engagement in the Caribbean
Reports
March 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte, Jordi Amaral, Diego Chaves-González, Ana María Sáiz and Jeremy Harris
Cover image for Temporary Worker Programs in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica
Reports
June 2022
By  Cristobal Ramón, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, María Jesús Mora and Ana Martín Gil
Cover image for Humanitarian Pathways for Central Americans
Policy Briefs
May 2022
By  Susan Fratzke and Andrea Tanco
Cover image for Migración de Huehuetenango en el Altiplano Occidental de Guatemala
Reports
March 2022
By  Andrew Selee, Luis Argueta and Juan José Hurtado Paz y Paz

Pages

President Joe Biden in Mexico City.

The U.S. immigration enforcement system increasingly depends on other countries to help halt irregular movements through the Americas and accept the return of unauthorized migrants. Foreign governments play a crucial and yet underappreciated role in migration management, and can either aid or frustrate U.S. border-control aims, as this article explores.

A man with potatoes in Ecuador

Ecuador has emerged as a significant destination for Venezuelan migrants, and is also a sizable origin for people heading to the United States and Spain. The Andean nation has found itself enmeshed in the Americas' evolving mobility trends and has responded with a mix of policies that have produced some unforeseen outcomes. This country profile evaluates recent trends and puts them in historical context.

Migrants in the Darien Gap village of Canaan Membrillo, Panama.

Passage through the Darien Gap has transformed migration across the Americas. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken the incredibly perilous journey across the remote jungle between Colombia and Panama, risking exposure to hazardous terrain, criminal groups, and other dangers. As this article outlines, governments have struggled to respond to the growing movement, expected to top 500,000 crossings in 2023.

Haitians at a medical site in Jeremie, Haiti.

The Haitian diaspora has swelled since a massive earthquake in 2010 and in the wake of violent riots that culminated in a political crisis in 2018 and the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Poverty, natural disasters, political crisis, and insecurity have historically driven Haitian migration. Destination countries have often rejected these arrivals and sought to deport Haitian migrants in large numbers.

Venezuelan migrants at the Colombian border.

Political and economic crises, new free-movement arrangements, and other trends are transforming countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, a region once known primarily for its emigration. The number of immigrants living in the region has nearly doubled since 2010, an incredible change in a short period of time. This article makes sense of a profound transition underway in the Western Hemisphere.

Pages

A Haitian child looks over his mother's shoulder in Panama
Commentaries
October 2023
By  Valerie Lacarte
A woman in a winter coat receives food from a woman in an orange safety vest at a train station in P
Commentaries
May 2022
By  Meghan Benton and Andrew Selee
Image of Central American migrant caravan passing through Chiapas, Mexico
Commentaries
April 2022
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto and Andrew Selee
IOm_Colombia_Passport_Woman_smaller
Commentaries
February 2021
By  Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan and Diego Chaves-González
MigrantCaravanMXCity2018_Wotancito_WikiCommons
Commentaries
July 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Claudia Masferrer and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto

Pages

Expert Q&A, Audio
June 27, 2023

MPI Senior Policy Analyst Valerie Lacarte speaks with experts Bridget Wooding and Louby George about migration of Haitians to the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

Central american migrants resting at Casa del Migrante in Tecun Uman, Guatemala.
Video
June 7, 2023

Marking release of a report, experts on this webinar examine migration narratives since 2018 and how they have been used to justify policy approaches or incentivize mobility decisions.

Expert Q&A, Audio
April 24, 2023

How are U.S. border operations and policies evolving at the U.S.-Mexico border to address rising and diversifying flows? And what is driving increasing immigration from across Latin America, the Caribbean, and beyond? MPI President Andrew Selee speaks with two colleagues who traveled from one end of the nearly 2,000-mile boundary to the other, touring U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities and interviewing U.S. and Mexican officials, NGO leaders, and others.

Valerie Lacarte on Webinar
Video, Audio
March 9, 2023

This expert conversation reviews migration in nine Caribbean countries, outlining challenges and opportunities for the integration of the migrant population and a successful engagement with diasporas to advance development, along with recommendations to strengthen the region’s capacity to accommodate changing patterns of migration.

Farmers working in a maize field framed with avocado plants in the village of San Lorenzo
Video
June 21, 2022

On this webinar, speakers discuss the main challenges faced by countries of origin and destination in ensuring mutual benefits through labor migration and strategies moving forward related to migration and development in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. 

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
May 2024

Two years after signing the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, governments from across the Americas met in Guatemala to assess the state of cooperation in the hemisphere. Working with nongovernmental and international organizations, they also produced an agenda for practical action for the next year, as this commentary explains.

Articles

The U.S. immigration enforcement system increasingly depends on other countries to help halt irregular movements through the Americas and accept the return of unauthorized migrants. Foreign governments play a crucial and yet underappreciated role in migration management, and can either aid or frustrate U.S. border-control aims, as this article explores.

Reports
March 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic hit South American nations at a time when many were already contending with major migration challenges. Historic levels of intraregional migration and displacement, notably from Venezuela, collided with countries’ attempts to stop the spread of a new threat to public health. This report examines the region’s responses to the public-health crisis, and the immediate and lasting impacts on cross-border movement.

Commentaries
October 2023

The next major displacement of people in the Americas is in the making, and it is going unnoticed. The response to the steady emigration from Haiti seen since a devastating 2010 earthquake has been largely haphazard and may not stand the test of new spikes as the country unravels further. This commentary suggests a way forward, based on a model used for the Venezuelan displacement crisis.

Articles

Ecuador has emerged as a significant destination for Venezuelan migrants, and is also a sizable origin for people heading to the United States and Spain. The Andean nation has found itself enmeshed in the Americas' evolving mobility trends and has responded with a mix of policies that have produced some unforeseen outcomes. This country profile evaluates recent trends and puts them in historical context.

Reports
October 2023

Venezuelan displacement has prompted countries across Latin America and the Caribbean to launch policies and programs to register, regularize, and support the integration of arriving Venezuelans. However, the extent to which regular status has helped Venezuelans find work has varied from country to country, as this report discusses.

Articles

Passage through the Darien Gap has transformed migration across the Americas. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken the incredibly perilous journey across the remote jungle between Colombia and Panama, risking exposure to hazardous terrain, criminal groups, and other dangers. As this article outlines, governments have struggled to respond to the growing movement, expected to top 500,000 crossings in 2023.

Articles

The Haitian diaspora has swelled since a massive earthquake in 2010 and in the wake of violent riots that culminated in a political crisis in 2018 and the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Poverty, natural disasters, political crisis, and insecurity have historically driven Haitian migration. Destination countries have often rejected these arrivals and sought to deport Haitian migrants in large numbers.

Pages