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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
Vulnerability of migrants continues
Latinamerica Press
11/25/2014
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Economic opportunity stimulates migration but recipient countries create obstacles for foreigners to stay.

Around 28.5 million Latin American and Caribbean people, 4 percent of 703.4 million of the region’s inhabitants, live in countries different from the ones of their birth, according to the report “Trends and Patterns of Latin American and Caribbean Migration in 2010 and Challenges for a Regional Agenda” (only available in Spanish), published by the Economic Commission on Latin America (ECLAC) on Nov. 11.

The United States, with 20.8 percent of Latin American and Caribbean immigrants (70 percent of the total), is the largest recipient of migrants among the receiving countries, followed by Spain with 2.4 million people, according to the study which examines the migratory trends in the region. Also, the study estimates the immigrant population of the region at 7.6 million people (1.1 percent of the total population), the majority being born in other nations of Latin America and the Caribbean (intraregional migration).

“Migratory flows within the region rose at an annual rate of nearly 3.5 percent between 2000 and 2010, marking an acceleration from the previous 20 years, when migration grew at a pace of roughly 1 percent. Argentina, Venezuela, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic concentrated the greatest number of these people.”

One of the paradoxes that ECLAC reveals is that “in a world more interconnected than ever and where the flow of finance, information and commerce is liberalized, the mobility of people is stimulated; but, at the same time, it encounters significant barriers restricting movement, leading to the conclusion that globalization is asymmetrical and deepens inequalities in levels of development.”

The economic crisis of 2008 revealed the lack of protections for migrant workers, who were the most harmed by loss of jobs and salary reductions. In order to avoid not being able to send remittances home to their families, many workers opted for second jobs instead of returning to their countries of origin.

Even though states recognize and ascribe to the international agreements on human rights, including migration, these same states regulate the entrance and presence of foreigners in their territories, with a tendency to emphasize security and selectivity and to strengthen border security, making it more difficult the requirements to enter and reside in their territories.

“Although the barriers to international migration have hardened in the principal extra-regional migration destinations and at times in some intraregional ones, this has not been an impediment for continuing migration. Many people continue to migrate, but with fewer rights and in worse conditions, becoming a highly-vulnerable population,” the report concludes.

“In this context, ECLAC proposes building an agenda on this issue that fully includes migration in post-2015 development strategies and drafting regional plans to take advantage of the benefits of migration. That agenda should also allow for greater dialogue and cooperation on migration, human rights and development in global forums, while also making progress on protecting the rights of migrants-particularly children, adolescents, women, low-skilled workers and people who are in irregular situations or have been forced to seek refuge.” —Latinamerica Press.

LATIN AMERICA/THE CARIBBEAN
Emigration and immigration as a percentage
of the total population (2010)
Country
Emigration
Inmigration
Guyana
49.2
1.5
Jamaica
29.4
1.1
El Salvador
22.9
0.7
Trinidad & Tobago
22.4
2.6
Saint Lucia
12.4
5.9
Nicaragua
11.7
0.6
Cuba
11.6
0.1
Dominican Republic
11.3
4.2
Mexico
10.6
0.9
Paraguay
10.6
2.5
Haiti
9.8
0.3
Honduras
8.0
0.3
Uruguay
7.4
2.3
Barbados
7.0
10.9
Ecuador
6.9
1.3
Bolivia
6.8
1.3
Guatemala
6.4
0.4
Colombia
4.8
0.3
Panama
3.7
3.5
Peru
3.6
0.2
Costa Rica
2.6
9.0
Chile
2.5
1.9
Belize
1.9
15.0
Argentina
1.8
4.5
Venezuela
1.6
4.2
Suriname
0.7
7.5
Brazil
0.5
0.3
Source: ECLAC

 


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