The Evolving and Diversifying Nature of Migration to the U.S.-Mexican Border

Jessica Bolter
Date of Publication: 
February, 2017
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

Due to historically low levels of Mexican migration in recent years, unauthorized migrants through the southern border are now more likely to come from Central American countries, such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, as well as from countries in the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. This article argues that policy changes are necessary given the growing diversity of arrivals. The majority of new arrivals, particularly those from Cuba and Haiti, are trying to seek admission through official border crossings rather than trying to evade detection. The article goes into detail on the circumstances facing migrants from these two countries, including the displacement of Haitians from Brazil due to deteriorating economic conditions there, and the relaxation of exit visa requirements by the Cuban government in 2013. These increasingly diverse migrant flows place pressure on the Latin American countries that serve as transit nations. Haphazardly closing or opening borders to migrants can overwhelm local infrastructure and resources of neighboring transit nations by causing a buildup of migrants awaiting asylum. Despite policy changes discouraging migration, the diverse flow of migrants to the U.S. will not soon subside as many migrants are escaping deteriorating economic conditions, political instability and persecution. (The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

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Bolter, J. (2017). The Evolving and Diversifying Nature of Migration to the U.S.-Mexican Border. Washington DC: The Migration Policy Institute. Available here: