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Migrants strengthen societies

Migrants strengthen societies

Migrants Day 2021 is a reminder of the potential of human mobility and the need to harness it. Migration contributes to the economic development of countries of origin, transit and destination through remittances, investments, trade and knowledge sharing.

By Isadora Zoni

International Migrants Day recognizes the approximately 281 million people living outside their home countries. In 2021, there were 61 million more people outside their places of origin than in 2010. This shows that despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of millions of events continue to force people to move. 

One of the biggest difficulties for migrants lies in the myths societies have about them, such as the criticism that they do not contribute to essential activities or steal the jobs of nationals in host countries. The pandemic of COVID-19 has only intensified such xenophobic discourses. 

In this context, UN Secretary General António Guterres said that solidarity with migrants has never been more urgent than it is today. In his message, Guterres said that those on the move "continue to face widespread stigmatization, inequalities, xenophobia and racism."

This year, the date brought with it the debate on the socioeconomic inclusion of migrants and the benefits of safe, orderly and dignified migration. The Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), António Vitorino, argued that to achieve the full potential of human mobility two things must happen: governments must move from words to deeds and include migrants, regardless of their legal status, in their social and economic recovery plans; and legal channels of migration must be strengthened so that national sovereignty and the human rights of people on the move are respected.

"The positive social and economic impact in the countries where they reside, and the $540 billion remitted last year to communities in lower and middle-income countries, are measures of the industry, entrepreneurship and community from which we all benefit," Vitorino explained.
The Venezuelan flow and the Quito process

In 2021, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean continued their efforts to seek solutions to the challenges presented by the Venezuelan influx, the largest migration movement in the region's recent history. In November, the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants worldwide exceeded 6 million.  Of this number, more than 80% (4,992,664) are in Latin American and Caribbean countries. 
In descending order, the 14 Quito Process member countries that host the most Venezuelan migrants and refugees on their territories are: Colombia (1.84 million), Peru (1.28 million), Ecuador (508.9 thousand), Chile (448.1 thousand), Brazil (261.4 thousand), Argentina (173.2 thousand), Panama (121.5 thousand), Dominican Republic (115.2 thousand), Mexico (82.9 thousand), Costa Rica (29.9 thousand), Guyana (25.5 thousand), Uruguay (15.7 thousand), Bolivia (11.6 thousand) and Paraguay (5,600).