Getting Migration in the Americas Right: A National Interest-Driven Approach

Dan Restrepo, Trevor Sutton & Joel Martinez
Date of Publication: 
June, 2019
Source Organization: 
Center for American Progress

Advancing U.S. national interests requires getting migration policy right. This is particularly true as large-scale dislocations of people in Central America and Venezuela reshape realities across the Western Hemisphere. The scale and character ofthese dislocations require a new approach to managing the movement of people in the Americas. 

Any effective approach, in addition to domestic reforms, requires understanding what is fueling these mass dislocations. Thissituation requires a serious and well-resourced response from Washington and its regional partners, who must boldly reimagine both U.S. and regional responses in the short, medium, and long term. 

As outlined in this report, to accomplish these goals the United States must look and work well beyond its borders to:

• Understand the underlying drivers of migration, including profound governance failures in the Northern Triangle of Central America; system failure in Venezuela; and the negative effects of climate change throughout the region

• Invest, at scale, in peace and democracy in the Americas in ways designed to address key migration drivers in both the immediate and longer term that are cheaper and more effective than the president’s doomed border wall and wildly misguided punitive tariffs

• Commit to a whole-of-society approach that ensures that responsibility for managing migration is shared by local, national, and regional civic, private, and government sector actors

• Adopt a humane and effective approach to immigration and border management that allows the United States to exercise arguably indispensable hemispheric leadership on migration and restore respect for the rule of law in its system

Properly understood and managed, migration represents not simply a challenge for the United States, but an opportunity. Advancing U.S. national interests requires a fundamental reassessment of current and recent approaches in the Americas.

Download now or view online.


Restrepo, D., Sutton, T. & Martinez, J. (2019). Getting Migration in the Americas Right: A National Interest-Driven Approach. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from