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Quarterly Mixed Migration Update Latin America and the Caribbean, Quarter 2, 2021

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This Quarterly Mixed Migration Update (QMMU) covers the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region. The core countries of focus for this region are the countries currently affected by the Venezuelan crisis, including Colombia, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador, in addition to the Caribbean islands. Concerning northern movements to the United Sates, this QMMU covers Mexico and Central American countries. Depending on the quarterly trends and migration-related updates, more attention may be given to some of the countries over the rest.

The QMMUs offer a quarterly update on new trends and dynamics related to mixed migration and relevant policy developments in the region. These updates are based on a compilation of a wide range of secondary (data) sources, brought together within a regional framework and applying a mixed migration analytical lens. Similar QMMUs are available for all MMC regions.

Key Updates

• More countries in the region, including the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Perú, and Brazil initiated or announced strategies to regularize Venezuelans in their territory. In comparison to other countries in the region, Chile’s new immigration law, which came into effect on April 20th, was the most restrictive approach observed as it only provides regularization options for foreign nationals who entered the country through a regular port of entry before March 18th, 2020. Furthermore, the new law introduces expedited deportations to further dissuade irregular entries.

• Due to the socio-economic impact of COVID-19, mainly loss of livelihoods, more Venezuelan refugees and migrants return to their country or move onward to a different destination. Between April and June, 178 Venezuelans living in Trinidad and Tobago voluntarily returned to their country, while 7,000 more registered to be repatriated. At the same time U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) mentioned that many Venezuelans who have reached the U.S. southern border this year had previously been living in South American countries and decided to move onward due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Pledge from donors to support response to mixed migration movements out of Venezuela. On June 17th, at least 30 countries around the world confirmed their commitment to fund humanitarian and development initiatives at the International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants, by donating 1.5 billion USD – reaching the target of USD 1.44 billion USD requested in the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan 2021.

• Increase in arrivals of extra-regional refugees and migrants in Panama. In April alone, 5,818 extra-regional people on the move arrived in the country, mainly from Haiti, followed by Cuba, Africa, and Asia, in comparison to 5,552 arrivals in the first quarter of 2021. In June, immigration authorities registered a 150% increase in arrivals, compared to May, with 11,116 foreign nationals arriving in Panama through Colombia.

• More refugees and migrants from outside Central America are reaching the U.S southern border CBP registered an increase in the arrival of Venezuelan, Brazilian, and Ecuadorian nationals at the U.S-Mexico border. Media sources also emphasized the arrival of Romanians.

• Record-breaking number of asylum applications lodged in Mexico. The Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR) registered 29,021 asylum applications between April and June. So far this year, Hondurans and Haitians, followed by Cubans, lead the list of those applying for asylum in the country.