Migration and Mobility in the Americas

Harsh treatment of migrants by both the US and Mexican governments has been a steady trend in 2019, with backlogs in the courts and makeshift tent camps at the US–Mexican border. Sluggish world economic growth and unrest in many Latin America countries are likely to encourage more people to continue to migrate north, even under these difficult conditions.

President Trump’s America First policy has affected more refugees and asylum seekers than skilled migrants (through the H-1B program), which has negatively impacted both North and Central America. Out-migration from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador has increased because of long-standing structural conditions, namely social, political, and economic insecurity.

This past year, the number of illegal migrants entering the US reached an all-time high, with numbers of detentions reaching over 114,000 in the month of May (the highest level in 13 years) — a drastic uptick since Trump’s inauguration in January 2018.

In terms of policy, a likely critical turning point came in November 2019, with the DACA program being argued in the US Supreme Court. Additional projections for changes in US migration policy are dependent upon the US presidential election in November 2020.

BBVA. 2019. ‘Anuario de Migración y Remesas: México’.
Miroff, Nick, Lynch, David J., & Sieff, Kevin. 2019. ‘Mexico Aims to avoid Tariffs with potential deal liming migrants grown north, allowing U.S. to deport Central American asylum seekers’. The New York Times. June 6.

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