E.g., 11/28/2022
E.g., 11/28/2022
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

A Haitian man hugs his daughter in Peru.
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Niños nicaragüenses en la escuela sosteniendo la bandera de su país.
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A member of the MS-13 gang.
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La gente lleva la bandera de la República Dominicana en un desfile en Washington, DC.
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A boy walks through a coastal village in Honduras.

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Books
October 2016
By  Kathleen Newland, Elizabeth Collett, Kate Hooper and Sarah Flamm
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Fact Sheets
January 2016
By  Marc R. Rosenblum and Isabel Ball
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Reports
December 2015
By  Victoria Rietig and Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas
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Reports
August 2015
By  Faye Hipsman and Doris Meissner

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HonduranBoy KevinChang Flickr

Since fiscal year 2010, more than 70,000 immigrant children have applied for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status, a pathway to a green card for youth who have been abused or neglected by their parents. Based on interviews with SIJ applicants, judges, and attorneys, this article provides an overview of the SIJ program and identifies limitations on access.

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.

DominicanBakery BrianGodfrey Flickr

In 2016, some 1.1 million Dominican immigrants lived in the United States, up from just 12,000 in 1960. Dominicans are highly concentrated in the New York metro area, and they and their descendants comprise the fifth-largest U.S. Hispanic group. This article profiles Dominican immigrants in the United States, finding them more likely to come via family ties and have lower incomes and less education than immigrants overall. 

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.

AfghanRefugees ZsuzsannaGal UNHCR

Governments on the receiving end of migrants and refugees reinforced their commitment to returns in 2017, sending or coercing migrants to move back to impoverished or violent homelands. The Dominican Republic pushed out some 70,000 Haitians and native born of Haitian descent, while more than 500,000 Afghans left Iran and Pakistan. Though many of these migrants chose to return, in practice the line between forced and voluntary returns is blurry.

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EventPH 2015.3.31 Unaccompanied Child Migration to the United States Flickr CBP Processing Unaccompanied Children
Video, Audio
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.

EVENTPH 2014.10.28  The Global Boom in Investor Immigration (youtube E.Collett)v.3
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.

UAC Webinar Train UNHCR
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.

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.

EventPH 2014.02.27 A Treacherous Journey   Child Migrants Navigating the U.S. Immigration System
Video, Audio
February 27, 2014

This panel discussion on unaccompanied minors focuses on a report by Kids in Need of Defense and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the Law, whose primary conclusion is that children face a U.S. immigration system created for adults that is not required to consider the child’s best interests.

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Recent Activity

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The chaotic arrival of thousands of Haitians at the U.S.-Mexico border in September 2021 was the culmination of a journey through the Americas that began for many a decade ago. This article examines how Brazil became a refuge for many after Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, and how Haitians then moved on to Chile and other countries as conditions changed, and then onward again further north.

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El número de inmigrantes centroamericanos en los Estados Unidos ha crecido dramáticamente. Pero las imágenes recientes de centroamericanos que llegan a la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México no cuentan toda la historia. Más de la mitad de la población llegó en 2000 o antes. Este artículo ofrece datos clave sobre los 3.8 millones de inmigrantes centroamericanos en Estados Unidos.

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Gang violence is a major driver of migration, particularly from Central America to the United States. But governments on both sides often rely on outdated and static understandings of gangs and their membership. This article explains the history of groups such as MS-13 and Barrio 18 and why they are relevant for immigration policy.

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Los inmigrantes de la República Dominicana son el cuarto grupo de inmigrantes hispanos más grande de los Estados Unidos y suman casi 1.2 millones de personas. Esta población se ha multiplicado casi por diez desde 1960, pero sigue concentrada principalmente en unas pocas áreas metropolitanas. Este artículo proporciona una descripción general de los inmigrantes dominicanos en los Estados Unidos.

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The number of Central American immigrants in the United States has grown dramatically, amid political corruption, violence, and natural disasters in their native countries. But recent images of Central Americans arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border do not tell the whole story, with more than half the population arriving in 2000 or earlier. This article offers key data on the 3.8 million Central American immigrants in the United States.

Reports
July 2021

More than 18 months since the first COVID-19-related travel restrictions were introduced, the pandemic’s effects on global mobility are still unfolding. With vaccination campaigns picking up speed in some places while only beginning in others, and new variants of the virus emerging, the timeline for restarting international migration and travel remains uncertain. This report explores how different policy choices could result in very different mobility realities.

Commentaries
June 2021

As the United States embarks on a new strategy to address the root causes of migration and displacement from Central America, there is much that it can learn from Europe's experience in linking up migration and development aid. This commentary examines the experience of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), drawing five key lessons directly applicable to the situation in Central America.

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A disproportionate number of Central American migrants traveling through Mexico to the United States come from Honduras, driven by government corruption, impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and hurricanes that have devastated communities and livelihoods. This article examine the multiple factors behind migration from the country, drawing from interviews with migrants en route.

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