Sep 29

Past Event

The Future of Central America: Challenges and Opportunities of Migration and Remittances


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More than three million Central Americans reside in the United States with widely differing legal situations, and this will likely continue as long as Central America remains a vulnerable region. For home countries prone to governance problems, widespread violence, natural disasters and economic stagnation, remittances sent by Central American migrants are a decisive factor driving economic dynamism and social change in their countries of origin. In El Salvador, for instance, remittances from abroad represent seventeen percent of GDP. The nature and evolution of the U.S. debate on immigration will likely have an outsize effect on Central America’s development prospects.

On September 29, the Latin America Initiative at Brookings and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration hosted a discussion on the current and future prospects of Central American migration to the United States, the regional implications of the U.S. domestic debate on immigration, and the trends and impacts of remittances in the Central American isthmus. Two panels of experts examined these issues, followed by a keynote address by Julissa Reynoso, deputy assistant secretary of state for Central American and Caribbean Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

After each panel, participants took audience questions.

Event Agenda

  • 8:30 AM -- Welcome Remarks and Introduction

    • Pablo Rodas

      Chief Economist

      Central American Bank for Economic Integration

  • 8:45 AM -- Panel 1: Central American Migration to the United States – Drivers, Trends and State of the Debate

  • 10:15 AM -- Panel 2: Remittances – Flows and Impacts in Central America

    • Moderator: Neil G. Ruiz

      Senior Policy Anaylst, Metropolitan Policy Program

    • Juan José Garcia

      Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Salvadorans Living Abroad

    • Manuel Orozco

      Senior Associate and Director of Remittances and Development

      Inter-American Dialogue

    • Sonia Pellecer

      Professor, Sociology and Migration Studies

      Rafael Landívar University, Guatemala

    • Ricardo de Puerta

      Professor of Sociology

      Catholic University of Honduras

  • 11:45 AM -- Keynote Address

    • Julissa Reynoso

      U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central American and Caribbean Affairs

      U.S. Department of State


September 29, 2011

8:30 AM - 1:00 PM EDT

The Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


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