While the exodus of millions of Venezuelans from their homeland to countries across the Western Hemisphere has attracted considerable attention in recent years, another equally significant migratory pattern in Central America has been taking place with less notice: the roughly 200,000 Nicaraguans who have fled to Costa Rica.
Human Security Archive
Violence and corruption in Central America, particularly in the Northern Triangle countries, is causing a wave of outward migration. The Trump administration’s restrictive measures and pressure on regional governments did nothing to address the root causes of the problem, which the Biden administration has now pledged to tackle. Meanwhile, efforts at reform across the region face opposition from entrenched interests that benefit from the status quo.
The lapsing of Title 42, a pandemic-era border control measure, offers an opportunity to reconsider U.S. immigration policy more broadly. Rather than pointing to the need for tighter restrictions, it highlights why the U.S. should adopt an “open door” immigration policy, making it easy for anyone who wishes to enter the U.S. to do so.
Two of today’s biggest stories in the Western Hemisphere are eliciting starkly different responses: action on migration and inaction on Venezuela’s political and economic crises. Yet, with over 7 million Venezuelans having fled the country, it’s impossible to deal with the first challenge without taking the second more seriously.
This week, Title 42—the pandemic-era measure curtailing immigration across the U.S. southern border—is expiring. But a new rash of efforts to regulate the flow of asylum-seekers compromises U.S. obligations under both domestic and international law, potentially putting U.S. civil servants implementing these policies at legal risk.
On March 21, nine Algerian migrants died when the boat taking them to Italy capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. The tragedy highlights the cost of migration, which is not limited to lives lost. The highly publicized reports of migrant deaths have increasingly shaped a vision of migration as a symptom of a broader social tragedy.