E.g., 04/13/2021
E.g., 04/13/2021

Central America & the Caribbean

Central America & the Caribbean

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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
November 2008
By  Lesleyanne Hawthorne
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Policy Briefs
September 2008
By  Kathleen Newland, Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza and Aaron Terrazas
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Policy Briefs
July 2008
By  Aaron Terrazas, Jamie Durana and Will Somerville
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Reports
April 2008
By  Thomas Faist and Jürgen Gerdes
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Policy Briefs
June 2007
By  Dilip Ratha
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Policy Briefs
April 2007
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza and Kathleen Newland
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Reports
September 2006
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza

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Spotlight march13 Cent America Map 324

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.

beyond remittances 324

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.

Los Estados Unidos es hogar para aproximadamente 2.9 millones de inmigrantes provenientes de los países centroamericanos Belice, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, y Panamá. La migración de Centroamérica ha crecido rápidamente en las recientes décadas, pero más de dos de cada cinco inmigrantes centroamericanos carecen de estatus migratorio legal mientras que alrededor de uno en diez residen en los Estados Unidos bajo la protección temporal humanitaria.

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Recent Activity

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.

Reports
April 2015

Policymakers, the public, and the media were seemingly caught off-guard in spring 2014 when a surge of child migrants from Central America reached the U.S.-Mexico border in unprecedented numbers. Yet the uptick began in 2011. This report examines the causes of this surge and recommends policy solutions to advance both critical protection and enforcement goals in situations of complex, mixed flows.

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