Shannon K. O'Neil

Latin America's Moment

O'Neil analyzes developments in Latin America and U.S. relations in the region.

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Showing posts for "Immigration"

The Hidden Refugee Crisis in the Western Hemisphere

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Haitians migrants wait to make their way to the U.S. and seek asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in Tijuana, Mexico, July 15, 2016 (Reuters/Jorge Duenes). Haitians migrants wait to make their way to the U.S. and seek asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in Tijuana, Mexico, July 15, 2016 (Reuters/Jorge Duenes).

While much attention is rightly focused on Syria and the Middle East, there are a growing number of refugees in the Western Hemisphere.

The largest group comes from Central America’s Northern Triangle—Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. For each of the past three years between 300,000 and 450,000 Central Americans have fled north. Of these, between 45,000 and 75,000 are unaccompanied children; another 120,000 to 180,000 families (usually a mother with children); and between 130,000 to 200,000 single adults. These numbers peaked in May and June 2014 when more than 8,000 unaccompanied minors crossed the U.S. border each month. 2016 numbers are again rising, with August inflows higher than ever before. Read more »

How Americans See Mexico

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Donald Trump, Immigration, Justin Trudeau, manufacturing, Mexico, NAFTA, North America, Ottawa, supply chains, Vianovo (Courtesy Vianovo and GSD&M)

The three North American leaders meet tomorrow in Ottawa, the new Trudeau government reviving an annual summit. As a recent poll of U.S. perceptions of its neighbors by Vianovo and GSD&M confirms, they face public opinion headwinds. Canvassing 1,000 U.S. adults through YouGov, the survey reveals the deep suspicions Americans hold of their neighbors, especially Mexico. Read more »

Migration From Central America Rising

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Central America, Northern Triangle, violence, homicides, dangerous, migration, U.S. border patrol, unaccompanied minors, International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACIH), Berta Caceres Children from Honduras, who will be accompanied by their families when they travel to reach northern Mexico or the U.S., have their meals at the Todo por ellos (All for them) immigrant shelter in Tapachula, Chiapas, in southern Mexico, June 26, 2014. Thousands of young people and families are hoping to reach the U.S. from their impoverished and violent homes in Central America (Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez).

Central America’s Northern Triangle is one of the most violent regions in the world. Last year’s murder rate of roughly 54 per 100,000 inhabitants surpasses Iraq’s civilian death toll. El Salvador alone registered 103 homicides per 100,000—making it the deadliest peacetime country. While victims are often young men, women and children die too. Kids face a murder rate of 27 per 100,000 in El Salvador—making the country as dangerous for elementary and middle schoolers as it is for an adult in the toughest neighborhoods of Detroit or New Orleans. Its neighbors Honduras and Guatemala are also among not just Latin America’s but the world’s most dangerous nations. Read more »

Immigration Reform Is Happening

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Honduran national Maria (no last name given) kisses Daniel, 4, with Alejandra, 7, and Marvin, 5, (R-L) as she waits in an isolation cell after she was caught attempting an undocumented entry into the U.S. from Mexico in Laredo, Texas, May 3, 2006 (Rick Wilking/Courtesy Reuters). Honduran national Maria (no last name given) kisses Daniel, 4, with Alejandra, 7, and Marvin, 5, (R-L) as she waits in an isolation cell after she was caught attempting an undocumented entry into the U.S. from Mexico in Laredo, Texas, May 3, 2006 (Rick Wilking/Courtesy Reuters).

Despite the standstill in Congress on immigration reform, state and local governments have been very active in passing their own immigration legislation. In this article for Foreign Policy, I look at what different states and cities are doing regarding immigration and the effects of their policies. You can read the beginning of the piece below:  Read more »

Immigration Reform Is Dead, Precisely When We Need It Most

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Migrants, consisting of mostly women and children, who just disembarked from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bus wait for a Greyhound official to process their tickets to their next destination at a Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona, May 29, 2014 (Samantha Sais/Courtesy Reuters). Migrants, consisting of mostly women and children, who just disembarked from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bus wait for a Greyhound official to process their tickets to their next destination at a Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona, May 29, 2014 (Samantha Sais/Courtesy Reuters).

With Eric Cantor’s loss earlier this week, most believe immigration reform is dead. Yet with tens of thousands of Mexican and Central American children flooding across the U.S. southern border, a legislative overhaul is even more important. In this piece for Foreign Policy, I look at why these kids are coming and what we need to do about it. You can read the beginning of the piece below: Read more »

Inside the 2012 Latino Electorate

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Placards and campaign stickers sit on a table at the Latino regional headquarters for the Obama campaign during election day of the U.S. presidential election in Milwaukee, Wisconsin November 6, 2012. Placards and campaign stickers sit on a table at the Latino regional headquarters for the Obama campaign during election day of the U.S. presidential election in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 6, 2012 (Sara Stathas/Courtesy Reuters).

During the weeks surrounding the 2012 presidential election, many analysts and observers, including myself, wrote about the Latino electorate’s arrival onto the political scene. A record breaking 11.2 million Hispanics voted and their concentration in swing states including Colorado, Nevada, and Florida, pushed Obama to victory. A new Pew Hispanic report, however, shows that this demographic still lagged its electoral potential last November. Despite the surge in absolute numbers, less than half (48 percent) of eligible Latino voters cast ballots, compared to 66.6 percent of blacks and 64.1 percent of whites. Read more »

Immigration Reform and the Latino Electorate

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A new U.S. citizen waves a U.S. national flag in front of a display of flags of the more than 40 nations represented by the more than 90 immigrants becoming U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts A new U.S. citizen waves a U.S. national flag in front of a display of flags of the more than 40 nations represented by the more than 90 immigrants becoming U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts (Brian Snyder/Courtesy Reuters).

For today’s ask an expert feature on cfr.org, I answered the question: “After immigration reform, how would the large and newly legal Hispanic population influence U.S. politics?” You can read my thoughts here or below. Read more »

Silicon Valley Takes on Immigration Reform

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A girl holds up a banner while people take part in a rally to demand that Congress fix the broken immigration system at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, April 6, 2013 (Eduardo Munoz/Courtesy Reuters). A girl holds up a banner while people take part in a rally to demand that Congress fix the broken immigration system at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, April 6, 2013 (Eduardo Munoz/Courtesy Reuters).

As the U.S. Congress looks to embark on immigration reform soon, many things have changed since the last try in 2007. One of the most important is the role of business—which is increasingly vocal and organized. The most recent announcement comes from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has just launched FWD.us along with backers Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, and Ruchi Sanghvi of Dropbox, to advocate for immigration reform and, in particular, for more high skilled immigrants. They join AOL founder Steve Case in the public debate, as well as Laurene Powell Jobs, who engineered the website “The Dream is Now,” that lets dreamers (undocumented youth) tell their own poignant stories. Read more »