E.g., 03/03/2021
E.g., 03/03/2021

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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Reports
September 2010
By  Kathleen Newland, Aaron Terrazas and Roberto Munster
Reports
September 2010
By  Kathleen Newland and Carylanna Taylor
Reports
September 2009
By  Michael Fix, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Jeanne Batalova, Aaron Terrazas, Serena Yi-Ying Lin and Michelle Mittelstadt
Reports
November 2008
By  Lesleyanne Hawthorne
Policy Briefs
September 2008
By  Kathleen Newland, Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza and Aaron Terrazas

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The phenomenon of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, typically after an arduous and often dangerous journey through Central America and Mexico, has reached a crisis proportion, with a 90 percent spike in arrivals from last year and predictions of future increases ahead.

Immigration has contributed to many of the economic, social, and political processes that are foundational to the United States as a nation since the first newcomers arrived over 400 years ago. After brushes with immigration reform that began in 2001 and continued in 2006 and 2007, the United States seems to be on the threshold of overhauling the legal immigration system in the most substantive way since 1965. This article provides a comprehensive overview of major legislation and events affecting U.S. immigration throughout history, legal and illegal immigration flows, postrecession immigration trends, and more.

Honduras has a population of just over 8 million and an economy primarily driven by exports—propped up in no small way by remittances. This article examines the history of modern Honduran migration, tracing the rise of emigration to the United States as a dominant economic force, and exploring migration trends, policies, and impacts on Honduran society.

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.

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Recent Activity

Reports
December 2015

For a growing population of migrants deported from Mexico and the United States to Central America, the conditions upon return typically are worse than when they left, setting up a revolving-door cycle of migration, deportation, and remigration. This report provides a detailed profile of reception and reintegration services offered in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to deported migrants, examining their challenges and opportunities for improvement. 

Video, Audio, Webinars
October 15, 2015

Marking the release of an MPI brief, this webinar examines data on where unaccompanied child migrants are being placed in the United States, how they are faring in immigration courts, what services are available to them, and how U.S. communities are adapting to their arrival.

Policy Briefs
October 2015

More than 77,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America were released to communities throughout the United States between October 1, 2013 and August 31, 2015. This issue brief examines where these children have been placed in the United States, how they are faring in the immigration court system, and how schools are adapting to their arrival.

Video, Audio, Webinars
September 3, 2015

This webinar includes an overview of regional immigration enforcement trends, including U.S. and Mexican apprehensions and deportations of Central American migrants, along with a demographic, socioeconomic, and criminal profile of child and adult deportees.

Articles

The Central American immigrant population in the United States has grown dramatically since 1980 to reach 3.2 million or 7 percent of the country's total foreign-born population. Central Americans were significantly less educated, but more likely to be employed than all immigrants and U.S. born. From income to health coverage and more, this Spotlight explores key indicators of the Central American immigrant population.

Reports
September 2015

This report examines the rising numbers of apprehensions and deportations of Central American children and adults by the United States and Mexico, and provides a demographic, socioeconomic, and criminal profile of deportees to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The report traces how rising Mexican enforcement is reshaping regional dynamics and perhaps ushering in changes to long-lasting trends in apprehensions.

Articles

With the growing urbanization and consolidation of Nicaraguan immigrants in sectors such as construction and domestic service, Costa Rica has shifted its focus from immigration enforcement to integration. Tension has emerged between the government and private sector as a new mechanism for regularizing unauthorized immigrant workers has failed to gain traction.

Reports
August 2015

The in-country refugee processing program launched in Central America by the Obama administration in December 2014 as a response to rising unaccompanied child migration may provide a legal, safe alternative to undertaking dangerous, unauthorized journeys to the United States, albeit a limited one. This report examines the Central American Minors Refugee/Parole Program, as well as the history and track record of prior U.S. in-country processing programs.

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