Latin America migration requires long-term responses

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Development-focused approaches towards undocumented migration are slow and complex, but offer hope of lasting results


  • Tackling insecurity and corruption would have the double benefits of making communities safer and encouraging private investment.
  • The politically polarising, long-term nature of development-focused migration responses makes them vulnerable to changes of government.
  • Short-term migration spikes, due to natural disasters for example, may prompt security measures that clash with humanitarian rhetoric.
  • Development efforts will be undermined in places by poor inter-governmental relations.


The Biden administration’s intention to address undocumented migration via regional development cooperation (not just border security) offers potential for long-term solutions. It brings Washington into line with early intentions expressed by Mexico’s government, and has been well received elsewhere, suggesting it will gain some traction.

Development-focused strategies nevertheless face wide-ranging challenges, particularly now, given the profound socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their success will require dedicated efforts to address multiple, interlinked issues including poverty, unemployment, crime and corruption.

Climate change impacts will weigh on progress in places, but may also provide opportunities for regional collaboration and investment in solutions.


See CENTRAL AMERICA/US: Migrant moves are a balancing act - January 29, 2021

See LATIN AMERICA/US: Resetting relations - December 21, 2020

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