E.g., 11/30/2020
E.g., 11/30/2020

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

Pages

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.

Not long after the United States passed the 1980 Refugee Act, thousands of people began fleeing civil war in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Their treatment in the United States, linked to U.S. foreign policy, spurred the Sanctuary Movement and efforts to grant them refugee status, as Susan Gzesh of the University of Chicago explains.

The growth of violent gangs such as MS-13, which operates in the United States and Central America, has caught the attention of the U.S. media and law enforcement. However, the role of migration policies in this growth deserves closer attention, finds MPI's Mary Helen Johnson.

In 2004, Central American countries received US$ 7.8 billion in remittances through official channels. Are remittances hurting or helping the region? MPI’s Dovelyn Agunias investigates.

Pages

Recent Activity

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.
Policy Briefs
September 2013
Private recruitment agencies orchestrate much of the migration process, from predeparture to return. They provide information, assistance, and even financial support to migrants; facilitate transit to and from the destination; and in some cases employ migrants directly. While recruitment agencies protect migrants, sometimes removing them from abusive workplaces or even organizing repatriation, migrants’ dependence on them for so many services also creates many opportunities for exploitation and abuse. This brief assesses the forms of regulation that are being proposed and enacted to oversee recruitment agencies and identifies several areas for further improvement.

Pages