Monday, April 17, 2006


Millions of Central Americans live and work in North America. This
Special Issue looks at what caused the migration flows to El Norte and
the impacts of Central American migration on both home and host

Top story:
Central America: Crossroads of the Americas
Many migratory streams from Central America -- including refugees,
economic migrants, and transit flows headed north from South America
elsewhere -- have converged in North America since the 1980s. Sarah J.
Mahler and Dusan Ugrina of Florida International University outline the
region's main trends.

Central American Foreign Born in the United States

half of all Central American foreign born in the United States are from
El Salvador and Guatemala. MPI's Megan Davy examines the numbers as
as events and policies that have shaped Central American migration.

Country Profile:
Guatemala: Economic Migrants Replace Political Refugees

Guatemala's long civil war, which spurred large flows of refugees, has
given way to high levels of economic migration to the United States and
an economy more dependent on remittances. Also, Guatemala's geography
has made it a prime transit country for migrants headed north, as James
Smith of Inforpress Centroamericana reports.
Mexico: Caught Between the United States and Central America
Since the 1980s, Mexico has become home to Guatemalan refugees and served as
a transit country for Central Americans seeking to reach the United
States. Manuel Ángel Castillo of El Colegio de México analyzes Mexico's
policies toward its southern neighbors.
Canada: A Northern Refuge for Central Americans
Although most Central American refugees sought protection in the United
States, Canada admitted thousands of Central American refugees in the
1980s. María Cristina García of Cornell University takes a detailed
look at Central Americans in Canada.
Remittance Trends in Central America
In 2004, Central American countries received US$ 7.8 billion in
remittances through official channels. Are remittances hurting or
helping the region? MPI's Dovelyn Agunias investigates.
Migration and Development in El Salvador: Ideals Versus Reality

Salvadorans abroad have helped their families economically and, to some
extent, decreased poverty levels back home. Yet migration has economic
and social costs in El Salvador -- and has not yet proved to be the
answer to its development problems, according to Katharine

CAFTA: What Could It Mean for Migration?

The Central America Free Trade Agreement may be the most important
economic event in the region in 20 years. However, it seems unlikely to
reverse established migration trends, reports Salomon Cohen.

Central Americans and Asylum Policy in the Reagan Era

Not long after the United States passed the 1980 Refugee Act, thousands
of people began fleeing civil war in Guatemala, El Salvador, and
Nicaragua. Their treatment in the United States, linked to US foreign
policy, spurred the Sanctuary Movement and efforts to grant them
status, as Susan Gzesh of the University of Chicago explains.
National Policies and the Rise of Transnational Gangs
The growth of violent gangs such as MS-13, which operates in the United
States and Central America, has caught the attention of the US media
and law enforcement. However, the role of migration policies in this growth
deserves closer attention, finds MPI's Mary Helen Johnson.
Policy Beat:
Senate Debates Temporary Worker Program and Path to Legal Status for
the Unauthorized

MPI's Julia Gelatt reports on the Judiciary Committee's proposals for
immigration reform, which set the stage for Senate debate on the topic,
plus other immigration news.

Special Issues:
Don't forget to visit our previous Special Issues on:
The Top 10 Migration Issues of 2005
The Unauthorized

Human Rights and Migration

and Migration

US-Mexico Migration
Women and Migration
Integration and Immigrants
Migration and Development
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On behalf of the Source team, thank you for your comments and
Kirin Kalia
The Migration Information Source is a project of the Migration Policy
Institute (MPI).


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