The U.S. government has apprehended and deported more unauthorized migrants from the Northern Triangle countries of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) than those from Mexico in the last five years, according to the latest 2019 report released by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI). In 2017 alone, there were 163,000 apprehensions of migrants from the Northern Triangle countries, compared to 128,000 apprehensions of Mexicans, a pattern that continued into 2018. With this shift in the country of origin the demographics and migration patterns of individuals crossing the southern border have also changed. In the past, migrants coming across the border were over- whelmingly single males. More recently, far more families, members of the LGBTQ community, women and unaccompanied children comprise these migration streams. And while in prior periods the migrants were crossing mainly for economic reasons, the recent arrivals to the border include sizable numbers of migrants seeking asylum or humanitarian protection, straining the U.S. and Mexican asylum systems and intensifying political debates on immigration policy. According to the U.S. Department of Justice data, migrants from the Northern Triangle countries filed approximately 40,000 asylum claims in U.S. immigration courts in 2016, nearly five times as many claims as those submitted in 2012.
The US Conference on Catholic Bishops has traditionally helped resettle more refugees in the United States than any other organization. The Department of Migration and Refugee Services works closely on issues of migrants in all dimensions of their journey. The Office is interested to look systematically at issues of deportation (repatriation -- forced migration and voluntary as well) to El Salvador, Honduras, and/or Guatemala from the US. The USCCB would like to examine the threats, challenges, and gaps in services related to the situation of people deported from the US, during the repatriation process, and following their return to their home countries. In particular, the USCCB is interested in understanding more about the systems, strategies and mechanisms in place to help support individuals during this often arduous process.
Definition of Opportunity: This project will be in partnership with Notre Dame’s Initiative for Global Development (NDIDG) that has a project working to strengthening research capacity in countries in the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador).
Review and build on initial research done by USCCB/MRS on this topic.
What Success Looks Like:
Begin to build a partnership among Notre Dame, USCCB/MRS and the IGD, on bringing research capacity to bear on this important issue. The hope is this background work will provide the foundational research for a team of Integration Lab (i-Lab) Master of Global Students who will work for the full 2020 calendar year on this issue, including travelling to the region.