E.g., 04/16/2014
E.g., 04/16/2014

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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Policy Briefs
April 2008
By Thomas Faist and Jürgen Gerdes
Policy Briefs
June 2007
By Dilip Ratha
Policy Briefs
April 2007
By Dovelyn Rannveig Agunias and Kathleen Newland

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Online Journal

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.

Online Journal

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.

Online Journal

The Central America Free Trade Agreement may be the most important economic event in the region in 20 years. However, it seems unlikely to reverse established migration trends, reports Salomon Cohen.

Online Journal

Salvadorans abroad have helped their families economically and, to some extent, decreased poverty levels back home. Yet migration has economic and social costs in El Salvador - and has not yet proved to be the answer to its development problems, according to Katharine Andrade-Eekhoff.

Online Journal

Many migratory streams from Central America — including refugees, economic migrants, and transit flows headed north from South America and elsewhere — have converged in North America since the 1980s. Sarah J. Mahler and Dusan Ugrina of Florida International University outline the region's main trends.

Online Journal

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.

Online Journal

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.

Online Journal

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.

Online Journal

Guatemala's long civil war, which spurred large flows of refugees, has given way to high levels of economic migration to the United States and an economy more dependent on remittances. Also, Guatemala’s geography has made it a prime transit country for migrants headed north, as James Smith of Inforpress Centroamericana reports.

Online Journal

Although most Central American refugees sought protection in the United States, Canada admitted thousands of Central American refugees in the 1980s. María Cristina García of Cornell University takes a detailed look at Central Americans in Canada

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Video, Audio
December 14, 2012

The event discussion, which touched on the intersection of race and immigration, focused on the demographics of Black immigrants (both African and Caribbean) in the United States and their children, their educational success, and the implications of the recently released volume’s findings for research and public policy.

Video, Audio
March 18, 2011

Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) research fellows Magnus Lofstrom and Sarah Bohn, and UC Berkeley professor of public policy Steven Raphael are issuing a new report that examines whether LAWA achieved its primary aims: reducing the unauthorized population, deterring their employment opportunities and improving employment outcomes of competing authorized workers. Their analysis also investigates whether Arizona’s legislation induced a shift away from formal employment.

Video
November 30, 2010

Over the past year, MPI has partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to examine how diasporas contribute to – or detract from - development efforts in their countries of origin. MPI and USAID have published an edited volume of the research. Please join us for the release of the book where speakers will discuss new thinking on the role of diaspora engagement in U.S. foreign and development policy.

Video, Audio
June 9, 2010

Breakfast briefing with T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, and Kathleen Newland.

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Video, Audio
December 14, 2012

The event discussion, which touched on the intersection of race and immigration, focused on the demographics of Black immigrants (both African and Caribbean) in the United States and their children, their educational success, and the implications of the recently released volume’s findings for research and public policy.

Video, Audio
March 18, 2011

Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) research fellows Magnus Lofstrom and Sarah Bohn, and UC Berkeley professor of public policy Steven Raphael are issuing a new report that examines whether LAWA achieved its primary aims: reducing the unauthorized population, deterring their employment opportunities and improving employment outcomes of competing authorized workers. Their analysis also investigates whether Arizona’s legislation induced a shift away from formal employment.

Video, Audio
June 9, 2010

Breakfast briefing with T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, and Kathleen Newland.

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Recent Activity

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.

Policy Briefs
September 2013

Diasporas can play an important role in the economic development of their countries of origin or ancestry. Beyond their well-known role as senders of remittances, diasporas also can promote trade and foreign direct investment, create businesses, spur entrepreneurship, and transfer new knowledge and skills. Policymakers increasingly recognize that an engaged diaspora can be an asset — or even a counterweight to the emigration of skilled and talented migrants.

Policy Briefs
September 2013

Skilled migration is often thought to have overwhelmingly negative effects on countries of migrant origin. Yet recent research and policy experience challenge this assumption and offer a more nuanced picture, as this brief explains. Countries of origin and destination can in fact benefit from skilled migration when it is correctly structured, and efforts to restrict skilled nationals’ ability to leave their countries of origin may have unintended costs, in addition to being ethically problematic.

Reports
August 2013

La migración ha contribuido a dar forma y definir las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y México desde hace más de un siglo, y las relaciones con Centroamérica aproximadamente durante los últimos 30 años. A veces, incluso la migración se convierte en la lente a través de la cual se consideran todos los otros aspectos de esta relación.

Books
July, 2013

This edited volume develops a pragmatic approach to the engagement of highly skilled members of the diaspora for the benefit of their countries of origin. The book, edited by a World Bank senior economist, is based on empirical work in middle-income and high-income economies.

Video, Audio
May 6, 2013

A panel discussion on the release of the Regional Migration Study Group's final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers in the region.

Reports
May 2013

El informe, concluye una iniciativa de 2 años y medio, que se centró en amplias consultas con los diseñadores de políticas y la sociedad civil en la región; produjo más de dos docenas de ensayos de investigación, resúmenes de políticas y resúmenes informativas; y contó con extensas deliberaciones por los miembros del Grupo de Estudio. El producto final ofrece 14 conclusiones y recomendaciones para los diseñadores de políticas de la región, algunas centradas en el actual debate legislativo en EE.UU., otras dirigidas a México y Centroamérica.

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