Central American migration has tripled, IOM warns

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By LatAm Reports Editor

The International Organization for Migration reported that, in 2023 alone, irregular migration in Mexico increased 62 percent in the first eight months of that year.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mexico stated that the transit of people in migration through Central America almost tripled in the last two years.

The flow of migrants in transit through Central American countries has increased almost threefold between 2022 and 2023, while their average stay in host countries has increased, said IOM representative in Mexico, Dana Graber Ladek, according to a statement from the agency.

The international official presented this data to the meeting of more than 30 legislators from 16 Latin American and Caribbean countries who met this week for two days in Mexico to promote a common migration agenda in the region.

The IOM representative highlighted the record levels of people on the move in 2023 through places such as Mexico and the Darién Tapón, between Colombia and Panama. This, he acknowledged, is putting enormous pressure on the health, education and work systems at the local level.

Authorities arrest a group of migrants in Mexico. Photo AFP/EDH

In 2023 alone, irregular migration in Mexico increased 62 per cent in the first eight months of that year, compared to the same period of 2022. And that trend is no less in other regions of the continent, he warned. Graber Ladek noted that such an increase in flows is accompanied by an increasing need for protection, integration and regularization measures.

IOM reported that, during the high-level meeting in hybrid format that took place on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, participants worked on a regional migration agenda and addressed issues such as human rights, international cooperation and development. Among the goals of the meeting, the agency announced the identification of challenges and areas of opportunity in countries to adopt regional legal frameworks, as well as for the implementation of public policies that respond to the needs of migrants and their families.

The organization indicated that this meeting of legislators “connects with that convened by the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in Palenque, in the south of the country, on October 22, 2023. Heads of State and Government participated there, and representatives from countries such as Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela.

Then the political leaders proposed to build comprehensive solutions in the face of the increase in irregular migratory flows that the region is experiencing from a human rights and shared responsibility and cooperation approach to address the structural causes, the agency recalled.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in El Salvador