E.g., 06/29/2020
E.g., 06/29/2020

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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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.

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues estimates there are more than 370 million indigenous people in some 90 countries worldwide. Carlos Yescas of the New School for Social Research looks at the definition of indigenous people, the three types of indigenous-people flows, and how indigenous migrants maintain ties with their home communities.

Thousands of Salvadorans fled the country during its civil war in the 1980s, many of them to the United States. The government is focused on engaging its diaspora but also must deal with immigrants from neighboring countries and issues around human trafficking.

Little is known about Americans who have retired to Latin America. MPI's David Dixon, Julie Murray, and Julia Gelatt examine the U.S. retiree population in Mexico and Panama by looking at census and visa data as well as by interviewing American retirees in various communities.

Since the 1980s, Mexico has become home to Guatemalan refugees and served as a transit country for Central Americans seeking to reach the United States. Manuel Ángel Castillo of El Colegio de México analyzes Mexico's policies toward its southern neighbors.

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Recent Activity

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.
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."
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. Papademetriou and Senior Fellow Doris Meissner, presented the Study Group’s final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration and Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America.

Books
December, 2013

This edited volume showcases approaches toward border management in Europe, Central America, and North America, and reflects on the challenges that countries in these regions face in managing their borders. The book brings together perspectives from both sides of the Atlantic on what border security means in practice, the challenges that continue to evade policymakers, and what policies have been the most (and least) successful in achieving “secure” borders.

Commentaries
October 2013
As hundreds of migrants were drowning in the Mediterranean, the United Nations General Assembly was hours from gathering for only the second time in its history to address international migration. The juxtaposition threw a question into sharp relief: does the world body have any impact on the world’s migrants?
Policy Briefs
October 2013
This policy brief, which concludes a nine-brief series examining what is known about the linkages between migration and development, suggests that the policy framework on migration and development remains relatively weak, and few development agencies have made it a priority to promote the positive impact of international migration.
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.
Policy Briefs
September 2013
Circular migration has typically been viewed with skepticism by migrant-rights advocates and wary publics alike. But many experts and policymakers in the migration field — and some in development — have come to recognize that well-managed circulation that is respectful of migrants' human and labor rights can bring benefits to countries of origin and destination, as well as to migrants themselves. For countries of origin, circular migration can relieve labor surpluses; for destination countries, it can provide the flexibility to quickly overcome skills shortages while adapting to long-term labor market shifts. For migrants, circular migration offers the opportunity to earn higher wages and gain international experience.

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