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 - 2021 [projected][["Refugees",343943],["Asylum-seekers",1530508],["Others of concern",468],["Venezuelans displaced abroad",204741]]
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Operational environmentIn 2021, UNHCR expects the arrival of at least half a million asylum-seekers to the southern border of the United States of America, primarily from countries in the North of Central America. An increase in the number of Venezuelan asylum-seekers is also foreseen as a result of shrinking protection space in other countries. In addition, the United States of America could see an increase in the arrival of people spurred on by economic devastation and/or heightened sociopolitical instability in Latin America and the Caribbean as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. An asylum backlog of over one million cases will continue to exist.
With regards to the situation at the border between the United States of America and Mexico, new opportunities for meaningful cross-border engagement will grow as UNHCR expands its operations and protection presence in Mexico and consolidates a small field presence on the American side.
Since the human rights and socioeconomic situation is not expected to improve in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, more Venezuelans will flee to the southern Caribbean countries. It is expected that these countries will host an estimated 100,000 people of concern to UNHCR by the end of 2021, representing a 20% increase since 2020. Due to restrictive migration policies and further limitation on access to territory as a result of the pandemic, refugees and migrants will increasingly resort to irregular routes, exposing themselves to greater risks at sea, smuggling and human trafficking. If border restrictions remain in 2021, cases of refoulment will rise.
Refugees and migrants are likely to face greater challenges in regularizing their stay in receiving countries and obtaining documentation, as well as difficulties in accessing basic services, shelter and livelihoods. Disproportionally affected by loss of income, resulting from the economic impact of the pandemic, and often excluded from states’ social support, refugees and migrants will face a deterioration of their living conditions and are likely to be further exposed to risks such as sexual and labour exploitation, gender-based violence and xenophobia.
In the Dominican Republic, the new political scenario following the elections may provide opportunities to accelerate the search for solutions for the large stateless population still residing on the island, as well as for the 114,000 Venezuelan refugees and migrants, 100,000 of whom remain with an irregular status. As the situation in Haiti continues to deteriorate, UNHCR foresees a rise in new arrivals, refoulement, increased xenophobia, and significant vulnerabilities affecting Haitians of concern to UNHCR.
Under the joint inter-agency coordination platform and through coordination with governments and communities affected, UNHCR will strengthen its capacity-building and help maintain the protection space in the Caribbean region.
Response and implementationCANADA
The drop in asylum claims due to COVID-related border restrictions will likely continue while the measures remain in place. UNHCR will work with the Canadian Government to ensure access to territory for asylum-seekers and to maximize opportunities for innovation in asylum processing.
Canada remains a leader in resettlement, and it plans to resettle 36,000 people in 2021, of which 13,500 will be identified by UNHCR. Canada’s labour mobility pilot for refugees is expected to expand in 2021 and 2022. A survey on Canadian views towards immigration shows that the uncertainty caused by the pandemic has not diminished their openness, which contrast with rising xenophobia in other regions.
Canada will assist efforts to enhance the capacity of asylum authorities in Latin America and increase its engagement in multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS) support platform and the 2021 Pledging Conference in support of Venezuelan refugees and migrants. The Government has also announced plans to launch a global campaign on education for refugee and displaced children.
2021 Budget for North America and the Caribbean | USD
|United States Multi-Country Office||33,663,056||6,530,500||0||0||40,193,556|
2021 Voluntary Contributions to North America and the Caribbean | USD
|Earmarking / Donor||Pillar 2
|United States Multi-Country Office|
|United States Multi-Country Office subtotal||28,169||28,169|