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Searching for Durable Solutions: Integration and Reintegration in the North of Central America and Mexico (September 2020)

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Integration and reintegration in the North of Central America and Mexico: "Searching for durable solutions"

In line with the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (2016) and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework - preceded by the Brazil Plan of Action (2014) and the San José Action Statement (2016) - countries in Central America and Mexico have committed to implement the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS, according to its Spanish acronym), in order to address the phenomenon of forced displacement in the region. The MIRPS brings together initiatives seeking to create durable solutions, through which people with protection needs can find security and stability, and lead a normal life, either through: voluntary repatriation to their country of origin, local integration in the country of asylum, or resettlement in another country.

In theory, asylum seekers, refugees, people with international protection needs and deported persons³ in the North of Central America (NCA) and Mexico are guaranteed access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and adequate housing, which together should enable them to meet their protection needs. In practice, access to these rights is restricted by multiple factors, including a lack of public policies and political will facilitating access to civil documentation, efficient regularization processes, or information so that both people and institutions are aware of existing rights and legislation. Stigma and discrimination due to xenophobia, as well as high rates of violence and crime also negatively affect the integration of asylum seekers and the reintegration of deportees. Vicious cycles of displacement, poverty, debt and protection risks are repeated.

As generalised violence continues to affect the NCA and Mexico, migration policies increasingly restrict the right to seek asylum, and the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbates humanitarian needs, this snapshot seeks to identify the options for integration or reintegration in the sub-region, and asks whether durable solutions are readily available for asylum seekers, refugees, people with international protection needs and deportees.

Key messages

  • Deported persons face barriers to finding jobs, returning to school, and re-establishing normal lives. Returns to the 1 NCA through deportations cannot be considered a durable solution.

  • Asylum seekers, refugees and deportees face multiple barriers to integration and reintegration, including generalised 2 violence, loss of support networks, stigma and discrimination.

  • The few reintegration programmes available for deportees are usually only provided in metropolitan areas and are mainly focused on providing employment opportunities, while very few provide the comprehensive psychosocial 3 support necessary for reintegration.

  • Resettlement is a durable solution that is out of reach for the vast majority of people with protection needs in the region (in 2019, out of the 3’757 people with protection needs identified under the Protection Transfer Agreement 4 mechanism, only 18% were resettled).4