How The Growing Humanitarian Crisis Is Affecting Immigration From Central America

immigration from Central America

Immigration from Central America is nothing new but it has reached a level never seen before as a record number of people seek to gain asylum in the United States. 

In the fiscal year 2022, over 2 million non-Americans crossed the U.S./Mexico border into the United States seeking asylum. In Florida, one in five residents is an immigrant. What is causing mass immigration from Central America and South America into the United States? Our Casais & Prias immigration attorney breaks it down.

Causes For Immigration

Typically a person or family will leave their home country because conditions are unbearable and they see a brighter future in another country. Over the last two years, more and more people from Central and South America have been making the grueling journey to the United States for a number of reasons.

Natural Disastersimmigration from Central America

The Central and South American regions are historically prone to natural disasters. Hurricanes, floods, landslides, and drought accounted for 88% of disasters in this region between 2020 – 2022. Without the infrastructure to withstand these storms and rebuild, these disasters can be devastating to residents’ homes, livelihoods, and access to services.

Humanitarian Needs

This term encompasses a variety of issues including poverty, socioeconomic inequality, political turmoil, and violence. Add the COVID-19 pandemic to the already difficult situation, and we are seeing exacerbated needs that are forcing migration from countries with little to no economic and political aid to countries like the U.S. that will take in and support immigrants.

Needs By Country

Guatemala

The lingering effects of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine are having a major impact on the people of Guatemala. Rising fuel, food, and fertilizer prices make it nearly impossible to maintain a standard of living. Violence has a disproportionate impact on women and girls, as female homicide numbers continue to rise. And the need for food assistance is at an all-time high with 4.6 million food-insecure people.

Weather also plays a role in humanitarian needs for this region. Over 6 million people were affected by the 2022 rainy season with 67 deaths and 14,000 people needing shelter. Over 25,000 homes, along with roads, bridges, schools, and healthcare centers were damaged.

Honduras

Flooding has affected twice as many people in 2022 as in 2021 which impacts food production. Growing inflation and food prices make it difficult for lower-income families to provide basic necessities. 

Violence also hits this region hard as it is one of the most criminally violent countries in the world. Women, children, adolescents, LGBTQ+ individuals, and those with disabilities are particularly affected. Homicide of women in Honduras is the highest in Latin America and is nearly three times the global rate.

Venezuela

Technically in South America, Venezuela suffers many of the same issues as its Central American neighbors but with the added concern brought on by economic destabilization over the past few years. 

Due to the mass immigration from this region, the U.S. and Mexico reached an agreement to allow Venezuelan immigrants to legally enter the U.S. and apply for a work authorization. The goal of this parole program is to allow up to 24,000 Venezuelans to enter the country in a safe and orderly manner via designated ports of entry. It should take some strain off of the southern U.S./Mexico border where large groups of immigrants are crossing daily.

Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help

If you have family members who need help with immigration from Central America, or any other country, our immigration attorneys can offer guidance on the best ways to get them into the U.S. legally. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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