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The Challenges of Addressing New Immigration Flows in Costa Rica

Date & Time

Aug. 22, 2016
3:30pm – 5:00pm ET


6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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As a nation of relative prosperity, safety and stability in Central America, Costa Rica has long attracted large numbers of migrants from the region. In recent years, it has drawn a growing influx from several Caribbean countries as well as from Africa and Asia, including some 22,000 Cubans seeking a route to the United States in 2015. The more than 400,000 immigrants residing in Costa Rica make up nearly ten percent of the country’s population. It should not be surprising that immigration issues are taking on increasing political and economic importance and posing new foreign policy challenges for Costa Rica within Central America and with the United States, Mexico, Cuba, and other nations.

In an event featuring Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís and moderated by Cynthia Arnson of the Latin American Program and Manuel Orozco of the Inter-American Dialogue, Solís addressed the growing political and economic impacts of undocumented migrants in Costa Rica. In addition to migration, Solís touched on a broad number of issues concerning Costa Rican politics and foreign relations.

For your convenience we have included below an annotated guide to the President’s presentation.

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Annotated Guide:

President Luis Guillermo Solís, opening presentation:“Challenges of Addressing New Immigration Flows in Costa Rica” at minute 4:00-16:33

(Includes references to the meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden on security issues in Central America—4:40; Cuban migration—5:45; migration patterns in Costa Rica, past and present—7:33; Extra-continental & Haitian migration and government policies toward migrants—8:20; health services for migrants, financial stress, and child migration—13:33; criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling and narcotrafficking—15:45; impacts on the Costa Rican population—16:33)

Domestic Issues

Costa Rica’s Future in Five-Ten Years (in light of new migration patterns)—24:13

Fiscal Deficits and Tax Reform—31:55

Corruption and Infrastructure Issues—39:00


Technical and Scientific Innovation Policies—41:55

Foreign Policy

Regional Insecurity and Organized Crime: Effects and Responses—18:10

Central American Integration—44:50

Costa Rica and the Alliance for Prosperity; President Solís’s visit with President Obama—53:45

The Pacific Alliance—1:00:40

Costa Rica and China; Impact of Colombia’s peace accord on Costa Rica—1:15:20


Event co-sponsors: 

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Hosted By

Latin America Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin America Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more

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