Migration in South and Central America has seen important changes in the last two decades. Intraregional migration remains the most important in South America, mainly due to the large-scale movements of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in the last five years. Meanwhile, migration from Central America has increased significantly in recent years. In addition, the nationalities of migrants have diversified greatly, including nationals from Caribbean countries and other continents such as Asia and Africa.
Among the factors driving these migrations are income asymmetries, lack of employment and opportunities, limited access to basic services, social violence, political conflicts, as well as disasters, including earthquakes and hurricanes, environmental degradation and the adverse effects of climate change, and changes (perceived or real) in immigration measures in destinations such as North America and Europe. Several countries in South America introduced specific and then exceptional migration measures for nationals from Caribbean countries and other continents in the last decade, allowing them to reside in these countries on a regular basis.
With the socio-economic, health and political impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the increase in xenophobia, coupled with disasters due to the impact of earthquakes and hurricanes, and changes in the US government and the perception of changes in its migration policy, some nationals from Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, African and Asian countries already residing in Latin America and others who arrived more recently, have been forced or made the decision to migrate to other destinations in the north of the continent in order to cover their basic needs.
In the absence of regular channels for most of these migrants from the Caribbean and other regions, these movements are often irregular. It should be noted that some migrants from the Caribbean, African and Asian countries have children of South American nationality, so these are not exclusively Caribbean and other regional migrants, but also nationals of South American countries in transit to North America.
In this regard, IOM has requested USD 74.7 million in order to respond to the vital needs of the growing number of vulnerable migrants in transit; and also to enable current destination countries to mitigate the negative impacts of the crisis and other socio-economic factors that often hit migrants first and hardest. Assistance includes food, clothing, health services and psychosocial support, safe shelter, and protection for victims and persons at risk of gender-based violence and human trafficking.
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