E.g., 02/27/2021
E.g., 02/27/2021

Central America & the Caribbean

Central America & the Caribbean

The countries of Central America's Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) have seen a significant number of their citizens migrate to the United States. Immigrants from the Caribbean represent half of all Black immigrants in the United States. As such, the ties between these countries and their diasporas have taken on new importance, as has the integration of these immigrants in their country of settlement. Research here explores the demographics, migration flows, human-capital development, interconnected policy realities, and outcomes for immigrants from Central America and the Caribbean. (For research specific to Mexico, see North America.)

Recent Activity

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Policy Briefs
July 2008
By  Aaron Terrazas, Jamie Durana and Will Somerville
Reports
April 2008
By  Thomas Faist and Jürgen Gerdes
Policy Briefs
June 2007
By  Dilip Ratha
Policy Briefs
April 2007
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza and Kathleen Newland
Reports
September 2006
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza
Reports
June 2006
By  David Dixon, Julie Murray and Julia Gelatt
Reports
June 2006
By  David Dixon, Julie Murray and Julia Gelatt

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El Salvador's lengthy civil war crushed diasporas' opportunities for political or civic engagement in this small, densely-populated Central American nation. However, hometown associations—diaspora organizations that contribute to the development needs of their members' hometowns—represent a modern-day venue for civil society participation. This article explores how diasporas are contributing to development in more ways than just cash flows and projects by transforming the governance landscape.

Arrivals of unaccompanied minors to the United States surged during 2012, straining the child custody system. While the flows of unaccompanied child migrants to Europe remained stable, the European Union continues to grapple with policies regarding the treatment of this uniquely vulnerable population.

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.

Los Estados Unidos es hogar para aproximadamente 2.9 millones de inmigrantes provenientes de los países centroamericanos Belice, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, y Panamá. La migración de Centroamérica ha crecido rápidamente en las recientes décadas, pero más de dos de cada cinco inmigrantes centroamericanos carecen de estatus migratorio legal mientras que alrededor de uno en diez residen en los Estados Unidos bajo la protección temporal humanitaria.

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.

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Recent Activity

Reports
April 2015

Policymakers, the public, and the media were seemingly caught off-guard in spring 2014 when a surge of child migrants from Central America reached the U.S.-Mexico border in unprecedented numbers. Yet the uptick began in 2011. This report examines the causes of this surge and recommends policy solutions to advance both critical protection and enforcement goals in situations of complex, mixed flows.

Video, Audio, Webinars
March 31, 2015

A webinar examining the shifting pattern of Central American child and family migration between 2011 and 2014 and expectations for 2015, the policy challenges presented by the rising inflow, and how states, localities, the U.S. government, and other countries in the region are responding to this recent trend.

Reports
March 2015
Amid aging populations and the growth of chronic diseases, the demand for skilled health-care professionals is on the rise in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This report explores the policy implications, benefits, and challenges of harmonizing nursing qualifications in the region, suggesting that a more collaborative approach could result in greater supply and quality of nurses.
Articles

Normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States will have a significant impact on U.S. immigration policy and future Cuban migration to the United States. This Policy Beat explores the U.S.-Cuba migration relationship, as fear of changes to the "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy has spurred hundreds of new boat arrivals in recent months.

Video
October 28, 2014

A discussion on the extraordinary boom in investor immigration, including the rapidly expanding EB-5 visa in the United States, Malta’s controversial “cash for citizenship” policy and a host of programs across Europe and the Caribbean.

Articles

Central American migrants have long hopped freight trains known as "La Bestia," or the beast, to get through Mexico en route to the United States. While Mexico has been accused of turning a blind eye to this traffic, U.S. outcry over the surge of unaccompanied child migrants has drawn new attention to the use of the trains. This article highlights the journey aboard the trains, the dangers faced by migrants, and responses by the Mexican government and others.

Articles
From a massive typhoon in the Philippines last November to the ongoing civil war in Syria, recent global events demonstrate that natural disasters and political strife occur suddenly and often without warning. This article examines the U.S. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program that grants humanitarian relief to nationals of certain countries embroiled in violent conflict or recovering from natural disaster.
Audio
June 25, 2014

The flow of unaccompanied children from Central America and Mexico to the United States has surged 90 percent since last year, with government officials predicting that it might reach 90,000 by the end of the fiscal year in September—and perhaps 130,000 next year. This telebriefing discusses factors behind the flows as well as short- and longer-term policy options for improving how the U.S. immigration system interacts with this population with distinct needs.

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