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Rethinking Migration in Latin America

Migrant waves in Latin America are growing and will continue to cause humanitarian crises across the region until the root causes of displacement are addressed. The worsening situation demands a new compact to coordinate and intensify the efforts of donors, governments, and aid organizations.

PANAMA CITY – Most countries in Latin America have a long history of receptiveness to migration. But an unprecedented surge in 2021 in the number of people being displaced by political unrest, economic instability, violence, pervasive inequality, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other factors means that many governments’ efforts to protect migrants are falling short of the intentions embodied in their policies.

One of the most worrying features of the current migration situation in Latin America is the gap between each country’s intentions as expressed through their migration policies and their abilities to provide displaced people with the protections they need. This is usually linked to insufficient financial and technical support from the international community.

Countries across the region are going to incredible lengths to manage the current migration crisis, prioritizing programs according to what their limited resources allow. But the variation in approaches is contributing further to the movement of people because migrants and asylum seekers tend to go wherever they can gain the most security for themselves and their families.

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