When Central American migrants are asked why they decided to leave their countries, they give a variety of responses; they’re seeking better economic opportunities, family reunification, protection from extortion and criminal violence, hope for a better future for their children. Often it is a combination of factors that drive migration, and the drivers of migration are themselves linked.
Most Central American migrants cite economic conditions as a reason for their decision to leave their countries. For some it is the only reason: they migrate because they can no longer survive where they are. For some, their loss of livelihoods is due to environmental pressures such as drought, hurricanes or the long-term effects of climate change. For others, their decisions to migrate are the result of both economic desperation and personal insecurity due to criminal violence. For almost all of them, poverty and loss of hope that conditions will improve are factors in their decisions to move.
The short answer to the question of why so many Central Americans are setting off on dangerous irregular migration journeys is stunningly simple: because there is virtually no way that they can move through regular, legal, safe channels.
This report from the North and Central American Task Force on Migration outlines concrete recommendations for a comprehensive regional approach and governance architecture to address migration. The issues are simply too complex to be dealt with by any one country acting along.
World Refugee & Migration Council Vice-President of Research Elizabeth Ferris wrote about the relationship between climate change and human mobility in the Wilson Quarterly. Read the full article here. “In today’s world where anti-immigrant sentiment is alive and well, where multilateral institutions are weak, where (at least in the U.S.), some reject the evidence that […]