6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

The Challenges of Addressing New Immigration Flows in Costa Rica

Webcast available

Webcast Recap

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.

The Challenges of Addressing New Immigration Flows in Costa Rica

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: 





  • Andrew Selee

    Former Executive Vice President and Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute
    President, Migration Policy Institute



  • Cynthia J. Arnson

    Director, Latin American Program
  • Manuel Orozco

    Senior Fellow and Director of the Migration, Remittances, and Development Program, Inter-American Dialogue