Monday, November 29, 2021

Celtics Player Naturalizes, Changes Name

Celtics player Enes Kanter, now Enes Kanter Freedom, became a naturalized U.S. citizen today. (He also changed his name!) Freedom was born in Switzerland and was raised in Turkey. He's been outspoken critic of Turkey as we've noted on the blog before (here, here).

-KitJ

November 29, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Secretive Prisons that Keep Migrants out of Europe, from Ian Urbina at The New Yorker

The December 7, 2021 issue of The New Yorker has an article by Ian Urbina titled "The Secretive Prisons That Keep Migrants Out of Europe" that is definitely of interest to those studying migration and detention. Urbina writes: "Tired of migrants arriving from Africa, the E.U. has created a shadow immigration system that captures them before they reach its shores, and sends them to brutal Libyan detention centers run by militias." This in-depth article is published in collaboration with The Outlaw Ocean Project.

The online version is available here.

IE

November 29, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

France calls for European aid after 27 migrant deaths at sea

 

The Associated Press reported on he "frantic search for a flimsy migrant craft that foundered in the English Channel, killing at least 27."

France and Britain have appealed for European assistance, promised increased efforts to combat human smuggling networks.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent French President Emmanuel Macron and the European Union leadership a letter proposing joint sea, air and land patrols. France has resisted the idea. Johnson also proposed an agreement allowing Britain to send back migrants to France. Macron appealed to neighboring European countries to do more to stop illegal migration into France.

Tensions between France and the UK on the issue are evident.

France is deploying army drones as part of stepped-up efforts to patrol its northern coastline and help rescue migrants at sea.  But President Macron also said that a greater collective effort is needed, referring to France as a “transit country” for Britain-bound migrants. “We need to strengthen cooperation with Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, but also the British and the (European) Commission,” he said on a visit to Croatia. “We need stronger European cooperation.”

Ministers from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Britain and EU officials were scheduled to meet yesterday to discuss increasing efforts to crack down on human smuggling networks.  In light of the tense communications between France and the UK, the British minister reportedly was uninvited to the meeting.

KJ

 

November 29, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

As Omicron variant cases spread, countries rush to impose travel bans

Welcome back travel restrictions!   The United States has restricted restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries as a new COVID variant emerges.

UPDATE (Nov. 29, 2;45 P.M. PST):   Presidential Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting CoronavirusClick here for the Proclamation.  In it President Biden proclaims that

"Given the recommendation of the CDC, working in close coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, described above, I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to suspend and restrict the entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of noncitizens of the United States (“noncitizens”) who were physically present within the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, and the Republic of Zimbabwe during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States."

KJ

November 29, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies: Soledad

 

The fil Soledad's website describes the 2019 New Days Film film as "weav[ing] live action and animation to tell the story of a woman from Central America who fled gang violence to seek asylum in the US."  It also includes this "SYNOPSIS": 

"Soledad tells the story of a young woman from Central America who was imprisoned in the Eloy Detention Facility when she sought asylum in the United States in 2017. Soledad set out on a perilous journey from her homeland after enduring horrific persecution where she was kidnapped, sex-trafficked, tortured and nearly killed.

Attorney Shefali Milczarek-Desai, who took the case pro bono, mobilized a dream team of professional women, all of whom agreed to work for free on the case. Together, they secured Soledad's release from Eloy and ultimately prevailed on her asylum claim in a rare victory for an asylum seeker in the U.S."

Click the link above for details.

KJ

November 29, 2021 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Documented DREAMers

While teaching immigration law, I learned of two college students at the university where I was teaching who were wringing their hands about an immigration issue. The siblings were four years apart in age, and they had come to the US to attend separate colleges on student visas. The older sibling graduated from college, found a job with an employer willing to sponsor a temporary work visa, and took additional courses on the side while applying to professional schools. The younger sibling was a sophomore when his immigrant parents decided to migrate to the US on employment-based visas and applied for green cards for themselves and their family. A grandparent unexpectedly passed, spurring the parents to travel abroad for a hastily-scheduled funeral and to remain longer than expected to assist with the care for the bereaved partner. Before returning to the US, the parents learned they had not obtained proper authorization for their travel and may have trouble re-entering. If they successfully re-entered, the parents' application for a green card may be jeopardized... and if the parents' green card faltered, so might the derivative applications for their college-aged kids. The younger breathed a sigh of relief when the travel issue was resolved. A year later, he received a green card along with his parents. His older sister knew that staying in the US would not be so easy for her; because she was already 21-years old, she would need to find a way to extend her temporary work visa or enroll in another university that would sponsor her student visa. Luckily, she was admitted to a professional school just in the nick of time. Otherwise, she would have needed to return to a home country where her family no longer lived and where she didn't have a job or housing lined up.
 
It's known as "aging out," and according to experts interviewed by CNN about 200,000 people are living in similar situations. Brought legally to the United States as children, as their twenty-first birthdays approach, many scramble to find ways to stay in the country. Some are forced to leave the US if they cannot find a valid way to continue their lives in the US. The CNN story quotes Dip Patel, a 25-year-old pharmacist who has experienced this harsh reality. Patel is the founder of Improve the Dream, a group of young adults who call themselves "documented DREAMers" and who are pressing Congress and the Biden administration to help save their futures.
"The whole situation is something that most people don't really know even exists: that it's possible for an immigrant child to be brought here legally, do all their education here, but still not have a chance to become an American."
A growing number of people are impacted, according to Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute. One groups is impacted by the green card backlog. For immigrants from India, it can take decades for them even to have a chance to apply. During that time, people who came to the US as young children are still waiting for their family's turn by the time they turn 21 and are no longer considered dependents. Consequently, they lose their place in line. A second group come from families whose temporary work visas don't make them eligible to apply to become permanent residents. Because the young adults in these temporary worker families had visas allowing them to live legally in the United States initially, they weren't protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which provided work permits and protection from deportation to other young adults who came to the U.S. as undocumented children.
 
More information on Documented DREAMers and the proposed law they hope Congress will pass, which would give "documented Dreamers" a chance to become permanent residents of the US provided they've lived here for at least 10 years on a valid visa and graduated from an institution of higher education, can be found here and here.
 
 
MHC

November 28, 2021 in Current Affairs, Data and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Poetry Break: Angel Island Poems

The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation maintains a wonderful website cataloging the poetry left by detainees on the detention barrack walls. There are so many moving pieces. Here's one that really spoke to me:

Sitting alone in the customs office,
How could my heart not ache?
Had my family not been poor,
I would not have traveled far away from home.
It was my elder brother who urged me
To embark on a voyage to this shore.
The black devil here is unjust-
He forces the Chinese to clean the floor.
Two meals a day are provided,
But I wonder, when will I be homeward bound?

Lee from Toishan District, September 4, 1911 

On the website, you can listen to the poem, read in the original Toishanese.

-KitJ

November 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 27, 2021

From The Bookshelves: The Leavers by Lisa Ko

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The Leavers by Lisa Ko has an enticing premise:

One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salon—and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her.

With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left mystified and bereft. Eventually adopted by a pair of well-meaning white professors, Deming is moved from the Bronx to a small town upstate and renamed Daniel Wilkinson. But far from all he’s ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his adoptive parents’ desire that he assimilate with his memories of his mother and the community he left behind.

Told from the perspective of both Daniel—as he grows into a directionless young man—and Polly, Ko’s novel gives us one of fiction’s most singular mothers. Loving and selfish, determined and frightened, Polly is forced to make one heartwrenching choice after another.

Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid examination of borders and belonging. It’s a moving story of how a boy comes into his own when everything he loves is taken away, and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of the past.

I've read and recommended Lisa Ko's writing before -- her article on food and the immigrant experience was fascinating.

Also, can we talk about the prescience of this novel? It was written in 2017. Yet the disappearance of a nail salon worker really brings to mind the 2021 violence against salon workers in Georgia.

-KitJ

November 27, 2021 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 26, 2021

Immigration Article of the Day, Women of Color in Immigration Enforcement by Kit Johnson

The Immigration Article of the Day is Women of Color in Immigration Enforcement by Kit Johnson, available on SSRN and published in 21 Nevada Law Journal 997 (2021).

Here is the abstract:

Immigration enforcement agencies are among the most racially diverse in federal law enforcement. More than half of all women holding law enforcement positions within immigration agencies are minorities, though the overall number of female agents is relatively small.

This Essay focuses on women of color in immigration enforcement. It begins with a necessary primer on immigration enforcement. Next, it traces key developments that led to the diversification of immigration enforcement, including analysis of never before published data about the racial and gender diversity of immigration agents. Then, it considers the unique benefits of hiring women of color as enforcement agents and notes barriers to the recruitment and retention of women of color by immigration enforcement agencies.

This Essay is largely descriptive, offering a picture of immigration enforcement and the role that women of color play in it. My hope is that this Essay will serve as a jumping-off point for empirical research regarding a before-now understudied segment of the immigration enforcement workforce.

IE

 

November 26, 2021 in Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

From The Bookshelves: American Street by Ibi Zoboi

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Santa can leave this novel under the tree for me this year: American Street by Ibi Zoboi. Gotta love the cross-promotional work of her publisher: "perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon." Careful readers (with long memories) know that I am.

Here's the premise:

In this stunning debut novel, Pushcart-nominated author Ibi Zoboi draws on her own experience as a young Haitian immigrant, infusing this lyrical exploration of America with magical realism and vodou culture.

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

-KitJ

November 26, 2021 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Migration Policy Institute PI Issues Latest Data Profiles of Unauthorized Immigrants and Offers Estimates of Legalization

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) today released its latest socio-demographic data profiles of unauthorized immigrants for the United States, 41 states and the District of Columbia, as well as the 130 counties with the largest unauthorized populations.

The profiles, based on MPI’s unique methodology to assign legal status onto the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), offer 2019 data for areas ranging from population size, countries of origin and years of U.S. residence to educational enrollment and attainment, home ownership, top industries of employment, health insurance coverage and poverty levels. The profiles also include estimates on age, gender, parental and marital status, top languages spoken and labor force participation for the nation’s estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants.

related interactive map allows users to see the top U.S. destinations for unauthorized immigrants by top country and region of origin.

Mexicans continued to account for just under half of all unauthorized immigrants in the United States—48 percent in 2019. Mexico and Central America, combined, remain by far the greatest source region for unauthorized immigrants—with 67 percent of the total—while Asia ranks second with 15 percent. South Americans represent a relatively small but rapidly growing group, at 8 percent of the overall unauthorized population, with numbers increasing particularly for Venezuelans.

South American unauthorized immigrants are highly concentrated in Florida—particularly the South Florida counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach—as well as in the Northeast: New York City, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Established South American communities in these locations may be growing rapidly given the increased number of encounters of South Americans at the U.S.-Mexico border since 2019.

Aside from these newer, expanding groups, the unauthorized population is generally well settled, with 63 percent having resided in the United States for 10 years or more, including 22 percent who have 20 years or more of U.S. residence.

Even as unauthorized immigrants have become more dispersed across the country, they remain concentrated in traditional destination states. In 2019, one-quarter of the unauthorized population lived in California, and nearly half lived in either California, Texas or New York. At the local level, one-fifth of them resided in the counties where four major cities—Los Angeles, New York, Houston and Chicago—are located.

About 1.3 million unauthorized immigrants were married to U.S. citizens and another 654,000 were married to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) in 2019. At the same time, 4.7 million U.S.-citizen children had at least one unauthorized immigrant parent, as did 61,000 LPR or nonimmigrant children.

MPI researchers estimate that immigration-related provisions within the Build Back Better Act that passed the House on Nov. 19 and is now before the Senate could provide work authorization and protection from deportation to nearly 7.2 million unauthorized immigrants who have been in the United States since January 1, 2011.

Among the nearly 7.2 million unauthorized immigrants who MPI estimates could benefit under the House-passed legislation are 2.6 million DREAMers—people who entered the United States before age 18.

For the unauthorized data profiles at U.S., state and county levels, visit here.

For a map of top destinations for unauthorized immigrants by country or region of origin, visit here.

For a data tool on the DACA eligible and status holders, check out here.

KJ

November 25, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving2

This 2019 article by Petula Dvorak for The Longview News Journal is the perfect Thanksgiving read: For immigrant families, Thanksgiving blends the old and the new. How very American.

"It is important, the meal. Because, for many immigrants, there were no cousins and grandparents and aunts nearby, no gathering after dinner to watch football."

And, even more important: Thanksgiving is "nonreligious, nonpolitical — hopefully — and like America, adaptable."

The article is ripe with food stories from the Czech Republic to Vietnam. You'll be inspired to add some new dishes to the table inspired by your own immigrant roots.

-KitJ

November 25, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Op-Ed: Continuing Trump’s pretext to block asylum claims, Biden defies the law and good politics

In commentary in the Los Angeles TimesProfessor Karen Musalo takes the Biden administration to task for continuing President Trump's use of Title 42.  Her opening:

"The so-called Title 42 border closure, which uses the COVID-19 pandemic to justify immediate expulsion or deportation of people fleeing persecution and torture, has always been heartless and illegal. So why is the Biden administration indefinitely continuing this most egregious and unlawful of Trump’s immigration policies? Recent reports confirm that it’s in part because the White House doesn’t want the political repercussions of ending it.

That craven position would be a flimsy defense in court. It’s also simply bad politics."

KJ

November 24, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Nerds Podcast

Hey all you immigration nerds out there, this podcast is for you!

Ian Gaines is host of the Immigration Nerds Podcast that covers all things immigration. He has featured on the show many members of our immprof community, including Jennifer M. Chacón and Stephen Yale-Loehr. In the latest podcast, Rose Cahn of the Immigration Legal Resource Center discusses post-conviction relief for immigrants.

Definitely a great podcast to add to your library, or suggest to students interested in learning more about a whole range of topics.

IE

November 24, 2021 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

New York City Expected to Allow Noncitizens to Vote

I_voted_sticker_Boston_2016The New York City Council is reviewing a plan to allow certain noncitizens to vote in local elections. If approved, the proposal will allow lawful permanent residents and others with legal permission to work to vote. The New York Times estimates that approximately 808,000 residents, the majority of whom are from the Dominican Republic and China, would be allowed to vote if the measure passes. 

New York City's incoming Mayor Eric Adams has supported the proposal, while Mayor Bill de Blasio has not been as supportive but has signaled that he will not veto it if it passes on December 9.

As we have posted here, the question of whether noncitizens should be allowed to vote in local elections has gained increasing attention in recent years. New York City would be the largest municipality to take the step to allow noncitizen voting.

IE

November 24, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Summer Opportunity for Rising 2Ls, 3Ls w/Young Center (Jan. 7 app deadline)

Elizabeth Frankel Fellowship at the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

 

Application deadline: January 7, 2022.

 

About the Young Center.

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights is a national organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights and best interests—safety and well-being—of immigrant children in the United States. Through the Young Center’s Child Advocate Program, staff and volunteers work to serve as Child Advocate for unaccompanied and separated immigrant children pursuant to the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and the 2013 Violence Against Women Act. Our role is to identify and advocate for the best interests of immigrant children, both while they are in federal custody and after they are released, applying federal and state laws and long-recognized principles of the best interests of the child. The Young Center also engages in policy work, advocating with legislators, federal agencies, and other stakeholders to promote consideration of the best interests of the child in all decisions concerning immigrant children and to create a dedicated juvenile immigrant justice system that treats children as children. The Young Center has offices in Chicago, Harlingen, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Washington DC.

 

About Elizabeth M. Frankel.

Elizabeth M. Frankel (1977-2021) was the first Associate Director of the Young Center. She joined the Young Center in late 2009, as just the third full-time employee, becoming part of a trio of attorneys in Chicago who would develop and implement an entirely new model for advocating for the rights of immigrant children and youth. Today the Young Center has eight offices across the country with more than 80 staff; Liz was involved in the creation and development of each and every office. From 2009 to 2015, Liz taught in the Immigrant Child Advocacy Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School. She loved mentoring law students and seeing them use their skills to take pro bono cases or jobs in public interest law.

 

About the Elizabeth Frankel Fellowship Program.

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights announces the first annual Elizabeth Frankel Fellowship for the 2022 summer. The intent of this Fellowship Program is to honor Liz’s passion for supporting law students as they learn to advocate effectively for immigrant children and families. The Fellowship Program will enable fellows to spend 10 weeks training to zealously advocate for children, and to carry on Liz’s vision of honoring the child’s wishes through careful, strategic advocacy. The Fellows will serve as Child Advocates for individual children, and will also conduct legal research and writing, under the guidance of Young Center staff within the Child Advocate Program. The Fellows will also engage in policy advocacy through ongoing initiatives at the Young Center under the supervision of the Policy Program. Fellows will be based in New York City and will be invited to spend one week of the Fellowship Program in the Young Center’s Harlingen office to understand how immigration patterns, enforcement, and advocacyplay out on the ground along the U.S.-Mexico border. The Elizabeth Frankel Advisory Committee, comprised of Liz’s family, friends, colleagues, and Young Center staff, advises the Young Center regarding the operation of the Fellowship Program.

 

Fellows will receive a stipend of $10,000 for 10 weeks (40 hours a week). The Fellowship Program will run from June to August 2022, with some flexibility as to individual start and end dates.

 

The program is open to law students who are rising 2L’s or 3L’s. Preferred qualifications: lived experience/knowledge that lends insight into supporting immigrant children and their families, and bilingual in Spanish and English (oral and written). Additional consideration will be given to law students who come from backgrounds/circumstances which prevent them from engaging in pro bono work during the summer.

 

Application and Selection Procedures

Interested students should email the following materials to EFrankelFellowship@theyoungcenter.org:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Personal statement (2 pages maximum) about the applicant’s relevant experience, interest, and
  • future aspirations with respect to legal work with immigrants and children.
  • Contact information for three references.

 

The final deadline to submit application materials is January 7, 2022.

 

Materials will be reviewed by the Fellowship Committee, and interviews with Young Center staff will take place in mid to late January 2022. The Young Center anticipates making offers to potential fellows in late January/early February 2022.

 

If you have any questions, please contact Priscilla Monico Marin (PMonicoMarin@theyoungcenter.org).

 

-KitJ

November 24, 2021 in Jobs and Fellowships, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Talking To Your Family About Immigration Over Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Dinner, photo by Marcus Quigmire from Florida, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Props to Baptist News Global for their headline: Tips for having a Thanksgiving Dinner conversation about immigrants without choking. The content is as amazing as the headline.

The article starts with What Not To Do: "Your loved ones did not sign up for a Ted Talk." Haha! Yet, really, true. People might be tempted to "counter anti-immigration arguments with a flood of expert references, statistics and Scripture verses about welcoming the stranger," but this form of preaching doesn't work.

What can work? "responses based on kindness and empathy and which avoid personal and partisan attacks." Talk about small things that can build empathy.

This nugget is GOLD: "arguments don’t necessarily have to have winners and losers." "Could we plant a seed?" "Did they walk away feeling hurt? Or did they learn something? Did they feel respected? I think that’s how we can reframe a ‘win’ here.”

Other important points: avoid criticism and find common ground where possible.

Wow. THANK YOU Baptist News Global for offering real, practical advice to those of us who struggle with anti-immigrant family members.

-KitJ

November 24, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Immigrant Detention Cases in New Year

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The Supreme Court has set a pair of immigrant detention cases for oral argument in January.  The cases are:

Johnson v. Arteaga-Martinez (Jan. 11): Whether a non-citizen who is detained under 8 U.S.C. § 1231 is entitled by statute, after six months of detention, to a bond hearing at which the government must prove to an immigration judge by clear and convincing evidence that the non-citizen is a flight risk or a danger to the community.

Garland v. Gonzalez (Jan. 11): Whether a non-citizen who is detained under 8 U.S.C. § 1231 is entitled by statute, after six months of detention, to a bond hearing at which the government must prove to an immigration judge that the non-citizen is a flight risk or a danger to the community; and (2) whether, under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(f)(1), the courts below had jurisdiction to grant classwide injunctive relief.

KJ

November 24, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

America’s Border Dilemma: Why Biden Has Few Good Options on Immigration

In Foreign Affairs, immigration experts Muzaffar Chishti and Doris M. Meissner of the Migration Policy Institute, take a deep dive into the problems and solutions along the border. They lay out a range of "complex, long-term initiatives" that build "strategies that enable migration to be safe, legal, and orderly." 

KJ

November 23, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Report: Stemming Rising Migration from Central America Calls for Tackling Immediate Needs and Root Causes

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Photo Courtesy of United Nations Food Programme

Poverty, food insecurity, climate shocks and violence pushed an estimated annual average of 378,000 Central Americans to migrate to the United States over the past five years, highlights a new report. A high price is paid in human and economic costs, including an estimated $2.2 billion a year to travel regularly and irregularly.

Drawing from a unique survey of thousands of migrant-sending households in three Central American countries — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — a joint report by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Civic Data Design Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Organization of American States (OAS), takes an in-depth look at the motivations and costs of migration.

Data collected through face-to-face and online surveys reveals an over five-fold increase over just two years in the percentage of people who considered migrating internationally: 43 percent in 2021, up from 8 percent in 2019. However, only a fraction — 3 percent — actually made concrete plans to migrate. Family separation and high costs associated with migrating were cited as deterrents.

Most migrants, 55 percent, were said to have hired a smuggler at an average cost of US$7,500 per person, while migrating through legal channels came at a cost of U$4,500. For 89 percent of people, the United States was their intended destination country.

The report sheds light on the linkages between food insecurity and migration from Central America, noting that food-insecure people are three times more likely to make concrete plans to migrate than people who are not.

Food insecurity has seen a dramatic rise in Central America as the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and poverty continue to make it harder for families to feed themselves. As of October 2021, WFP estimates that the number of food-insecure people in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras grew three-fold to 6.4 million, from 2.2 million people in 2019.

In addition, migration flows have been driven by violence and insecurity, as well as climate-related shocks such as severe droughts in the Central American Dry Corridor and more frequent and stronger storms in the Atlantic. The devastating twin hurricanes that hit Central America in November 2020 contributed to the deterioration of living conditions for populations that were already vulnerable.

While highlighting the push factors of migration from Central America, the report also presents governments with a blueprint to address its root causes, including initiatives that are linked to economic recovery, livelihoods and food security for people who are most likely to migrate irregularly.

The expansion of national social protection programs that help alleviate poverty and eradicate hunger for at-risk populations is key to stemming migration. For example, cash-based transfers are a lifeline for people in need, allowing families to meet their essential needs. School feeding programs offer more than a plate of food. They support local agriculture and represent savings for poor families.

Furthermore, the report recommends economic development and investment initiatives that are tailored to community needs, giving people the option to seek opportunities at home. These include agricultural programs for smallholder farmers to build resilience to climate shocks, diversify crops and boost production, as well as job training programs for youth and women in rural and urban areas. Creating incentives for the diaspora to invest in public works in local communities would amplify the impact of remittances beyond individual households.

To shift irregular migration to legal channels, the report recommends that the United States and other migrant-destination countries in the region expand legal pathways for Central Americans, for example by increasing access to temporary employment visas.

KJ

November 23, 2021 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)