North America and the Caribbean
Operational information on the North America and Caribbean subregion is presented below. A summary of this can also be downloaded in PDF format. This subregion covers the following countries:
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Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion North America and the Caribbean
People of Concern - 2019 [projected][["Refugees",50621],["Asylum-seekers",61072],["Stateless",108700],["Others of concern",295870]]
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Operational EnvironmentCanada continues to demonstrate a commitment to refugee protection through its robust asylum system, its level of resettlement admissions, and financial contributions making it one of UNHCR’s top ten donors. The number of people seeking asylum remains high relative to the historical average. Despite public debates, the Government has firmly upheld international and Canadian law principles regarding the right to seek asylum. Canada and UNHCR have started to test various labour mobility pathways although structural barriers in existing economic immigration programs prevent refugees from accessing them.
In 2019, UNHCR will continue to support Canada’s resettlement scheme, as part of an overall multi-year increase of humanitarian admissions, expand access of refugees and asylum seekers to employment and labour mobility, increase its support to education pathways, monitor and support access to fair procedures and the use of alternatives to detention, including for children and their parents, as well as people with mental health needs.
For many years, the United States of America has been a leader on global refugee protection, not only through its political influence but also as the largest donor to UNHCR, the largest refugee resettlement country, and a major country of asylum. Policy reviews have reduced the refugee admissions ceiling and actual arrivals, and have also resulted in changes to the asylum landscape, particularly impacting individuals, families and unaccompanied children fleeing violence in the North of Central America (NCA).
In 2019, UNHCR continues to engage constructively with the US authorities, including in relation to US support for the regional response to the NCA situation through the CRRF.
The Caribbean region is characterized by mixed movements and receives asylum-seekers from a multitude of countries of origin, with the majority arriving from Cuba and Venezuela. The recent influx of Venezuelans has caused considerable challenges for Caribbean countries, whose limited absorption capacity and lack of asylum frameworks frequently place asylum-seekers at risk of refoulement, prolonged detention, and trafficking. As States’ migration policies towards asylum-seekers (including Venezuelans) become more restrictive, UNHCR will have to engage more systematically to ensure access to territory, asylum and basic services for people of concern. Continued capacity-building, targeted protection interventions and the further consolidation of the Caribbean Migration Consultations are crucial to maintain the protection space in the region and to develop asylum systems.
Response and implementationUNHCR will continue to support the Government of Canada to further align its asylum system to international standards and to increase resettlement levels, including through additional pathways such as labour mobility and education opportunities.
UNHCR also intends to support Canada to maintain its fair asylum system with reasonable processing timeframes in spite of the increasing numbers of asylum-seekers, and supporting authorities to expand the implementation of the decision to establish alternatives to detention, including for children and their parents, as well as people with mental health needs. UNHCR will also continue to work towards sustaining the increased public interest and support for refugees in Canada and globally, by implementing an expanded communication and visibility strategy.
Instability in Central and South America may continue to prompt large movements of refugees northwards, presenting new protection challenges for both the United States and countries in the Caribbean. UNHCR will also scale up its public information and community engagement work as a means to sustain and support ever-increasing public interest and support for refugees and asylum-seekers.
In 2019, UNHCR’s protection and solutions strategy in the United States will prioritize a range of protection responses for refugees and asylum-seekers focussing on US law and policy, regional cooperation and support to the MIRPS, US border engagement, legal representation and support, resettlement, local integration, and statelessness.
In the Caribbean, UNHCR’s strategy will prioritize the following objectives: (1) promoting asylum-seekers’ access to territory and prevention of refoulement, including through capacity-building of border officials, magistrates, and immigration authorities; 2) ensuring access to asylum and/or alternative legal pathways including by strengthening domestic asylum systems; and, where necessary, conducting registration and refugee status determination under its mandate; 3) improving access to services and enjoyment of socio-economic rights in host countries including by using community-based protection methodologies and advocating with states for refugees’ access to public services and local integration; 4) Identify, prevent and respond to serious forms of abuse and exploitation, including SGBV and trafficking in persons; 5) pursue resettlement and relocation options as part of a comprehensive durable solutions strategy. UNHCR will further these objectives in close partnership with affected communities, strengthening community mobilization and participation and fostering social cohesion. At the regional level, UNHCR will continue to promote capacity-building initiatives through the Caribbean Migration Consultations (CMC) in cooperation with Caribbean States, CARICOM and IOM.
2019 Budget for North America and the Caribbean | USD
|United States of America Regional Office||28,985,369||8,317,075||0||0||37,302,444|
2019 Voluntary Contributions to | USD
|Earmarking / Donor||Total|