South America

South America

Venezuelan Migration and the Border Health Crisis in Colombia and Brazil

The Venezuelan economic, political and health crisis has triggered an exodus of Venezuelans to countries throughout the region. As of early 2019, an estimated 3.4 million Venezuelans had fled to other countries in the region and beyond. The paper reports on the findings and recommendations from public health missions undertaken in the summer of 2018 to two communities that have received large numbers of Venezuelans: (1) Cúcuta, in the Colombian border state of North Santander, and; (2) Bôa Vista and Pacaraima, in the state of Roraima, Brazil. These studies included interviews with health providers and organizations engaged in the humanitarian response, secondary analysis of grey literature, and data shared by key informants. Surveillance data demonstrated increases in infectious diseases, as well as adverse maternal and neonatal health outcomes among Venezuelans in both North Santander and Roraima. The paper finds that while the Colombian and Brazilian government responses to the immediate needs of Venezuelans have been admirable, they are not sustainable. In particular, there is an urgent need for an expanded humanitarian response to the Venezuelan migrant crisis in the region, particularly to address health needs where surveillance data shows recent and rapid rises in infectious diseases, acute malnutrition, and poor maternal and neonatal health outcomes. It reports that lack of access to preventative and primary care and inadequate funding of life-saving emergency care could result in a health crisis for Venezuelans in Colombia and could impact public health more broadly if not addressed through a more comprehensive and adequately funded humanitarian response. In Brazil, there is a need to invest in integration programs to improve the health and wellbeing of Venezuelans who have fled their country, with sensitivity to the needs of receiving communities, especially those who are underserved, in order to minimize resentment from the local population. This complex and costly process, the paper concludes, will require political will and financial support from neighboring countries, and the international community at large. In the longer term, however, only a resolution of the complex health and humanitarian crisis within Venezuela itself will address these transnational threats to health in the region.

Read More

Does the United States Need to Invest More in Border Enforcement?

Despite the largest immigration enforcement budget in US history, the Border Patrol is set to apprehend the highest number of border crossers in more than a decade. This essay argues that the administration’s enforcement-only approach cannot successfully address this humanitarian crisis, and does not deserve any additional funding. Instead, the administration should respond to the conditions driving Central American and Venezuelan asylum seekers, provide protection for those fleeing violence and other impossible conditions, and create a strong, well-resourced US asylum system.

Read More

Venezuela in Crisis: the Plight of Venezuelan Refugees
While US public and media attention has been focused on  Central American families fleeing violence in the Northern Triangle states, a crisis of larger proportions has been unfolding farther south. Since 2015, more than 1.6 million Venezuelans have left their...

Read More

Stefan Vogler of Northwestern University reviews Gendered Asylum: Race and Violence in U.S. Law and Politics, by Sara L. McKinnon. Professor  McKinnon exposes racialized rhetorics of violence in politics and charts the development of gender as a category in American asylum law. Starting...

Read More

International Migration Policy Report: Responsibility Sharing for Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants in Need of Protection
This inaugural report of the Scalabrini migration study centers covers responsibility-sharing for large-scale refugee and migrant populations in need. The report consists of chapters that describe the situation of refugee and migrant populations in select regions around the world and analyzes the responses of states, regional bodies and the international community.

Read More

Richard Velasquez reviews Deported: Immigrant Policing, Disposable Labor, and Global Capitalism, by Tanya Maria Golash-Boza. Based on the author’s interviews with 147 deportees from Guatemala, Jamaica, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic, the author connects economic restructuring, migration, race, class, and militarization...

Read More