North America and the Caribbean

Subregion: North America and the Caribbean


Latest update of camps and office locations 21  Nov  2016. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

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Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion North America and the Caribbean

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2016 {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016],"budget":[21.6065171,20.60068171,20.41675768,21.983955902,23.82731682],"expenditure":[14.61501453,11.83280543,11.1219198,9.16138218,12.39485274]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016],"p1":[8.7576305,7.78175938,9.69776191,12.952736702,15.06503312],"p2":[9.64523209,8.88357933,7.44870104,9.0312192,8.7622837],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[3.20365451,3.935343,3.27029473,null,null]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016],"p1":[6.36164693,6.53560163,6.93738674,6.22442657,8.80342582],"p2":[6.26149986,4.20904446,3.56395855,2.93695561,3.59142692],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[1.99186774,1.08815934,0.62057451,null,null]}
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People of Concern - 2016

[["Refugees",371125],["Asylum-seekers",570193],["Stateless",2302],["Others of concern",1718]]
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Response in 2016

The year 2016 witnessed increasing pressure on the United States asylum system due to the growing number of asylum-seekers from the Northern Triangle of Central America (NTCA) countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, as well as Venezuela and Mexico. This resulted in significant backlogs for refugee status determination. With a view to examine the profound impact on the United States’ asylum process caused by the acute influx of asylum seekers, UNHCR led a protection dialogue process, together with the Migration Policy Institute, which resulted in a set of recommendations for the new Administration.
In the Caribbean, the scope, size and complexity of mixed migration is increasingly significant. In 2016, UNHCR and its partners registered more than 5,000 asylum-seekers, an increase of more than 50 per cent compared to 2015. This trend will likely continue and possibly result in a significant gap between RSD processing capacity and demand, affecting UNHCR’s ability to assist countries in setting up functioning asylum systems.
UNHCR delivered emergency assistance to thousands of vulnerable people in the Bahamas, Belize and Haiti in response to the devastating effects of hurricanes Earl and Matthew.
The region continues to be confronted with a large stateless population and the associated protection needs. In the Dominican Republic, important steps were taken to issue nationality documents to Dominican-born individuals of foreign descent. UNHCR is working with the authorities and other actors to determine the size of the population that has attained a nationality solution under Law 169-14.
In Canada, the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) initiated a reform of the asylum system, which will allow UNHCR to address remaining issues of concern. UNHCR and Canada Border Services Agency are working together to address outstanding concerns related to detention, including the detention of children.
With UNHCR’s support and technical guidance, Canadian and US authorities have worked closely with the Mexican Refugee Commission (COMAR) to provide specialized training to strengthen the asylum system. 


Canada’s leadership on refugee matters globally was increasingly evident in 2016. The Government supported UNHCR’s work financially and provided resettlement for 46,000 refugees through both private sponsorships and UNHCR referrals - the largest yearly number since Canada’s resettlement programme was created in the 1970s.
UNHCR also supported the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative, led by the Government of Canada, the University of Ottawa, the Radcliffe Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and UNHCR. The Initiative in December 2016 brought together representatives from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States to learn about Canada’s private sponsorship model and consider how it can be adopted and supported in their countries and others. 
98 Number of personnel (international and national)
7 Number of offices
832,900   Estimated number of people of concern (PoC)
20.7 Mio. USD Overall funding requirements (ExCom-approved 2016 budget)

Operational Environment and Strategy

Canada has demonstrated its commitment to refugees both domestically and internationally through its independent refugee status determination tribunal, its provision of resettlement places and its support for UNHCR’s work through both funding and involvement in UNHCR’s governance. The newly-elected Government will steer the asylum system in line with the results of the evaluation of the refugee reform, to be published in 2015. UNHCR stands ready to offer technical support to implement the recommendations.
Arrivals of children, including unaccompanied minors and those travelling with family members, in the United States of America have decreased by 40 per cent compared to 2014 but remain significant (80,000 in 2015). With continued insecurity linked to gang activity in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, more arrivals are expected and will require adequate protection responses.
The Caribbean is confronted with an increasingly complex phenomenon of mixed movements that involves people who may be in need of international protection moving alongside economic migrants; and the region has become a transit point for asylum-seekers trying to reach North America. Some refugees also originate from the Caribbean region itself. Maritime incidents are recurring with the number of deaths at sea increasing every year. Moreover, maritime interception, disembarkation and return procedures are often implemented without necessary safeguards for people with protection needs.
UNHCR continues to work with the Government of the Dominican Republic to find solutions for several thousand individuals of foreign descent who were arbitrarily deprived of their nationality. The National Regularization Plan has offered good opportunities to long-term refugees to enhance their local integration by obtaining documentation and residency permits, providing them with a more secure status in the country. 

Response and Implementation

UNHCR’s focus in Canada will be on monitoring the national asylum system, especially with respect to access to territory and procedures. The Office will provide support to administrative and judicial refugee adjudication systems, including the appeal process. It will encourage the furtherance of high standards of protection in Canada, and seek to enhance resettlement opportunities. Canada takes part in UNHCR’s Global Strategy “Beyond Detention”, also implemented in Mexico and the United States. UNHCR will work with the Canadian Government in pursuing the Global Campaign to End Statelessness by 2024.
In the United States, UNHCR will maintain emphasis on the response to Central American refugees, with a particular focus on access by children and women to territory and asylum procedures. Alternatives to detention will be pursued, especially for refugee children, in order to mitigate and eliminate the negative impact of detention on children. UNHCR will also pursue the expansion of its detention hotline to facilities holding unaccompanied children, and develop child-friendly information materials on the asylum process and other complementary forms of protection, to be posted in facilities holding families and unaccompanied children.
In the Caribbean, new momentum is being sought through the establishment of a Regional Consultative Mechanism that will optimize the management of mixed movements and implement comprehensive responses within a rights-based framework, to enhance refugee protection at sea. UNHCR’s strengthened Caribbean Partners Network will enhance protection activities such as registration, needs assessments and durable solutions. UNHCR will continue to provide capacity-building and technical assistance to facilitate the gradual transfer of responsibility for refugee status determination from UNHCR to national authorities in countries such as the Bahamas, Belize, Curaçao, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
UNHCR’s protection strategy in the Dominican Republic and Haiti will prioritize activities responding to and preventing the expulsion of individuals with undetermined nationality during the enforcement of migration controls. UNHCR will continue providing technical and operational support to find practical solutions and ensure that those affected re-acquire their nationality. 

2016 Budget and Expenditure in North America and the Caribbean | USD

Operation Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
Pillar 3
Reintegration projects
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Canada Budget
United States of America Regional Office Budget
Total Budget

2016 Voluntary Contributions to North America and the Caribbean | USD

Earmarking / Donor Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
United States of America Regional Office
European Union 0136,261 136,261
International Organization for Migration 062,814 62,814
Private donors in Canada 750 75
United States of America Regional Office subtotal 75199,075 199,151
Total 75199,075 199,151