E.g., 12/05/2023
E.g., 12/05/2023
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

Cover image for Relaunching the Central American Minors Program: Opportunities to Enhance Child Safety and Family Reunification
Reports
December 2021
By  Mark Greenberg, Stephanie Heredia, Kira Monin, Celia Reynolds and Essey Workie
Cover image for El estado de la política migratoria y de integración de Costa Rica
Reports
November 2021
By  Diego Chaves-González and María Jesús Mora
Cover image for The State of Costa Rican Migration and Immigrant Integration Policy
Reports
November 2021
By  Diego Chaves-González and María Jesús Mora
Cover image for The Complex Motivations and Costs of Central American Migration
Reports
November 2021
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Rossella Bottone, Jaret Waters, Sarah Williams, Ashley Louie and Yuehan Wang
Merchants sell items on a busy street in San José, Costa Rica.

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Cover HLD Newland
Policy Briefs
October 2013
By  Kathleen Newland
Cover ClemensSkilled
Policy Briefs
September 2013
By  Michael Clemens
Cover HLD NewlandPlaza
Policy Briefs
September 2013
By  Kathleen Newland and Sonia Plaza
Cover HLD Agunias
Policy Briefs
September 2013
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza
Cover HLD Hugo
Policy Briefs
September 2013
By  Graeme Hugo

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CaribbeanDayDancers

Caribbean immigrants represent 10 percent of the 44.5 million immigrants in the United States, with the vast majority coming from just five countries: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago. Depending on their origin country and period of arrival, immigrants from the Caribbean have varying skill levels, racial composition, language background, and motivations for migration, as this article explores.

U.S. Marine secures barbed-wire fencing at the California-Mexico border.

The Trump administration took sweeping action in 2018 to slow legal immigration, make life harder for some immigrants already in the United States, rebuff would-be asylum seekers, and reduce refugee resettlement. Shaping a narrative of crisis at the border, the administration significantly changed the U.S. asylum system, deployed troops and tear gas, and separated families—yet Central American migrants continued to arrive.

SalvadoranKids FAO AMEXCID Flickr

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America yet the most densely populated. A stagnant economy, high levels of crime and violence, and natural disasters have pushed growing numbers of people to migrate without authorization or seek asylum abroad, mostly in the United States. This article explores historical and contemporary emigration from El Salvador.

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.

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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.

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.

Tall UN building against blue sky
Audio
September 18, 2013

The Chair of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, along with the Special Advisor to the UN Special Representative for International Migration discuss what is expected from The UN High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development in October 2013 and what impact it may have on the Global Forum on Migration and Development.

MI_ThinkingRegionally_5613
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

Reports
December 2021

The U.S. government has relaunched the Central American Minors (CAM) Program, which was created to offer certain children living in dangerous conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras a safe, legal way to join their parents in the United States. This report identifies shortcomings in the earlier version of the program, examines the new one, and makes recommendations for how to strengthen it going forward.

Expert Q&A, Audio
December 9, 2021

How has the business world responded to disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic? In this episode of Moving Beyond Pandemic, we speak with two former government officials who are now in the private sector—Ian Robinson of the immigration law firm Fragomen and Brendan Ryan, CEO of Nomadic, about the trends and policy environment shaping business mobility decisions.

Video, Audio, Webinars
November 30, 2021

This webinar marks the release of a report examining the state of Costa Rica’s institutional framework and initiatives supporting the integration of migrants and refugees, a particularly critical policy area as the immigrant population continues to grow. The event was in Spanish and this is the live English interpretation.

Reports
November 2021
Dentro de América Latina, Costa Rica es uno de los principales destinos para migrantes y refugiados de una amplia gama de países y con características e intencionalidades migratorias diferentes. Este informe examina el marco institucional y la capacidad del sistema migratorio del país, con un enfoque en la integración de inmigrantes en cuatro áreas de políticas: registro y regularización, salud, empleo y educación.
Reports
November 2021

Within Latin America, Costa Rica is a top destination for migrants and refugees from a range of countries and with different characteristics and migration intentions. This report examines the institutional framework and capacity of the country’s migration system, with a focus on immigrant integration in four policy areas: regularization and registration, health, employment, and education.

Expert Q&A, Audio
November 24, 2021

With migration a dynamic phenomenon in the Americas, the U.S. government increasingly is realizing that migration management should be viewed in a regional context. This requires a new set of policies and ways of engagement with countries in North and Central America, and beyond, as MPI President Andrew Selee discusses with colleague Andrea Tanco in this episode of our World of Migration podcast.

Reports
November 2021

Influenced by a mix of factors—from economic and humanitarian protection needs to family reunification and climate change—Central American migration is a dynamic phenomenon. This report draws on unique survey data to examine the conditions that drive people in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to migrate, as well as the costs and implications of migration for households and communities throughout the region.

Articles

Tens of thousands of Nicaraguans have fled their country since 2018, amid repression and a renewed government crackdown. In neighboring Costa Rica, many migrants have encountered a robust system for protection and integration, yet they still face stigma and discrimination in their daily lives. This article explores this dynamic along one of Central America's most important migratory routes.

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