E.g., 04/25/2024
E.g., 04/25/2024
South America

South America

With the exodus of more than 5.6 million Venezuelans, South America is experiencing major change in its migration flows and policies. Beyond the immediate migration and humanitarian crisis, the region has experienced more movement in recent years, chiefly for labor reasons, with Brazil the preferred destination for migration from outside the continent.

South American migration beyond the region is chiefly to the United States and Europe. The research offered here sketches the dynamism of South America's migration and refugee trends and policies.

Recent Activity

Women with children and a donkey in Ethiopia.
Cover image for External Processing report
Reports
February 2023
By  Pauline Endres de Oliveira and Nikolas Feith Tan
Asylum seekers from Venezuela in Texas.
Articles
A refugee receives emergency assistance in Uganda.
Articles
Venezuelan migrants at a reception center in Brazil.
Articles

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Policy Briefs
February 2021
By  Camille Le Coz and Kathleen Newland
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Reports
November 2020
By  Jeanne Batalova, Andriy Shymonyak and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Policy Briefs
September 2020
By  Dany Bahar, Meagan Dooley and Andrew Selee
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Policy Briefs
September 2020
By  Dany Bahar, Meagan Dooley and Andrew Selee
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Fact Sheets
August 2020
By  Diego Chaves-González and Carlos Echeverría-Estrada
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Fact Sheets
August 2020
By  Diego Chaves-González and Carlos Echeverría-Estrada

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Venezuelan migrants at a reception center in Brazil.

The Biden administration’s policy to expel some Venezuelan border arrivals to Mexico marks a significant reversal. For the first time, the U.S. government is invoking the controversial Title 42 expulsions policy not on public-health grounds but as an explicit immigration enforcement measure. The expulsions are being paired with a new humanitarian parole program for up to 24,000 Venezuelans. This article assesses the policy and the uneven treatment of humanitarian migrants by nationality.

Image of indigenous Warao in a canoe on the Kaituma River in Guyana

The discovery of massive oil reserves off the Guyana coast will bring immense riches to this small South American country. This windfall will draw migrant labor and the return of some diaspora members to Guyana, which has one of the world's highest emigration rates. It also could accelerate climate displacement in a country where 90 percent of the population lives in coastal areas below the sea level. This article explores the changes ahead.

Image of passport page with variety of stamps

Looking for some of the most often-sought information on global migration? This statistics-rich article draws on the most current data sources to offer a primer on international migration, highlighting its types, the size of the migrant population and growth over time, and major sending and receiving countries and regions. Beyond looking at labor and humanitarian migrants and international students, the article examines remittances and more.

Migrants and natives dance at a multicultural celebration in La Vega, Chile.

In the years since its return to democracy, Chile has emerged as a major immigration destination within South America. Yet recent large-scale migrant arrivals from Haiti and Venezuela have shaken the country’s politics and at times overwhelmed a decades-old immigration framework that critics contended was woefully out of date. New reforms could tighten immigration, but many questions remain. This country profile analyzes migration to Chile particularly since 1990.

A couple celebrating carnival at home.

South Americans make up a relatively small share of all U.S. immigrants. But their numbers have been growing in recent years and flows are diversifying, particularly with new arrivals from Venezuela. This article offers key statistics on the South American immigrant population in the United States.

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IOM MuseMohammed Venezuelan refugees and migrants cross the Puente Internacional Simon Bolivar
Video, Audio
February 11, 2020

This webinar marked the launch of a Latin American and Caribbean Migration Portal, and a report examining migration and integration policy responses towards massive Venezuelan displacement.

EVENT PHOTO 2019.10.29 Latin American Response to Venuzuealan and Nicaraguan Migration Crises
Video, Audio
October 29, 2019

Responsables de políticos principales y partes interesadas de América Latina, así como representantes de instituciones internacionales claves, ofrecen sus puntos de vista sobre los desafíos futuros mientras gobiernos latinoamericanos buscan establecer las estrategias para responder a flujos migratorios forzados a gran escala, como los de Venezuela y Nicaragua.

EVENT PHOTO 2019.10.29 Latin American Response to Venuzuealan and Nicaraguan Migration Crises
Video, Audio
October 29, 2019

Leading policymakers and key stakeholders from Latin America, as well as representatives of major international institutions, offer their views on the challenges ahead as Latin American governments seek to chart strategies for responding to large-scale forced migration flows, such as those from Venezuela and Nicaragua. Spanish and English versions of the remarks are available.

Felipe Munoz at Migration Policy Institute Event
Video, Audio
September 27, 2019

Felipe Muñoz, Advisor to the President of Colombia for the Colombian-Venezuelan Border, discusses how Colombia is coping with the influx of Venezuelan migrants, plans for future policy decisions surrounding this migration, and developments in regional and international cooperation.

flicrk CIDH visita la frontera de Colombia con Venezuela
Audio
January 31, 2019

Convocamos un seminario en línea en la ocasión del lanzamiento del informe que describe donde se han radicado los migrantes venezolanos; las medidas que han utilizado los gobiernos latinoamericanos para regularizar el estatus legal de los migrantes venezolanos; y los esfuerzos por integrar a los recién llegados en sus nuevas comunidades de residencia.

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Recent Activity

Articles

Can haphazard, unplanned climate displacement be turned into voluntary, safe migration? Projects explicitly aimed at addressing internal and international climate migration are rare, but development organizations increasingly are turning their attention to supporting them. This article catalogues climate mobility projects around the world and examines their primary goals, whether to support the movement or stay of people or help at destination.

Reports
February 2023

As asylum systems in many countries have come under considerable strain in recent years, there has been renewed interest in external processing—that is, conducting part or all of an asylum procedure outside a destination country’s territory. Some countries have pursued this to deter spontaneous arrivals, but as this report explores, others are using various external processing models to expand access to protection.

Articles

Venezuelans comprise one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the United States, nearly tripling in size from 2010 to 2021. Much of this migration has been fueled by crisis in Venezuela, where political unrest and economic strife have caused millions to flee since 2015, most remaining in Latin America. Venezuelan immigrants are far more likely than the overall foreign- and U.S.-born populations to have a college degree. Take an in-depth look at this immigrant population.

Articles

Many refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants do not trust humanitarian actors, are unable to access assistance, or did not have support when they needed it. This article, featuring findings from a large-scale survey involving more than 16,000 migrants in countries around the world, provides an overview of these challenges.

Expert Q&A, Audio
November 17, 2022

Guyana is a small country in South America that will be greatly transformed by the recent discovery of massive offshore oil reserves. This episode of Changing Climate, Changing Migration discusses how the world’s fastest growing economy is confronting environmental change, particularly with economic growth and proximity to troubled Venezuela likely to drive significant immigration.

Articles

The Biden administration’s policy to expel some Venezuelan border arrivals to Mexico marks a significant reversal. For the first time, the U.S. government is invoking the controversial Title 42 expulsions policy not on public-health grounds but as an explicit immigration enforcement measure. The expulsions are being paired with a new humanitarian parole program for up to 24,000 Venezuelans. This article assesses the policy and the uneven treatment of humanitarian migrants by nationality.

Commentaries
October 2022

Los titulares enfocados en la cifra récord de 2,4 millones de migrantes encontrados en la frontera México-Estados Unidos durante el año fiscal 2022 encubren la historia más importante: Los flujos migratorios se han diversificado rápidamente más allá de México y el norte Centroamérica, y como resultado, las políticas de control migratorio son incongruentes con la realidad de hoy. Esto demuestra la evidente necesitad de nuevos enfoques regionales, argumenta este comentario.

Commentaries
October 2022

Headlines focusing on the record-breaking nature of the 2.4 million migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022 overlook the much bigger story: Migrant and asylum seeker flows have rapidly diversified beyond Mexico and northern Central America and as a result, U.S. enforcement policies are misaligned. Today's reality sharply underscores the need for new regional approaches, this commentary argues.

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