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.)
Immigrants from the Caribbean living in the United States come from a diverse set of countries and territories, with Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago the top origins. This article offers a sociodemographic profile of Caribbean immigrants, who represent 10 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population and nearly half of all Black immigrants in the United States.
Irregular migration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras has become a dominant feature of the migration landscape in Central and North America, yet few legal pathways exist for Central Americans facing pressure to emigrate. This report explores how Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica could use existing temporary worker programs to expand legal migration options while also helping fill their labor shortages.
The Los Angeles Agreement on Migration and Protection signed by leaders from 20 countries across the Western Hemisphere at the 2022 Summit of the Americas marks a significant step forward in creating a common language and a coherent set of ideas for more cooperatively managing migration movements across a region that has seen very significant mobility in recent years, as this commentary explains.
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.
During recent decades, large-scale international migration has been an external escape valve for Guatemala, a response to the country's multiple internal problems. This article examines Guatemalan migration, primarily to the United States, into the post-war era; U.S. government immigration policies affecting Guatemalans; the impacts of migration within Guatemala; and Guatemala/Mexico migration dynamics.
Since 1990, the number of Central American immigrants in the United States has nearly tripled. This immigrant population grew faster than any other region-of-origin population from Latin America between 2000 and 2010. This article focuses on a wide range of characteristics of Central American immigrants residing in the United States, including the population's size, geographic distribution, admission categories, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.
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.
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.
The United States has a long tradition of providing asylum to those in need. But in recent years, case backlogs have grown and many asylum seekers now wait years for a decision. This report examines the factors that have brought the U.S. asylum system to this crisis point and proposes common-sense steps that can be taken to restore timeliness and fairness, while deterring abuses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This useful online guide links users directly to the most credible, high-quality data on immigrants and immigration in the United States and internationally. The easy-to-use guide includes more than 250 data resources compiled by governmental and nongovernmental sources, covering topics ranging from population stock and flow numbers to statistics on enforcement, public opinion, religious affiliation, and much more.
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.