Refugees International Reacts to Costa Rica’s State of Emergency; Calls for Increased Support for Displaced People

Statement from Refugees International’s Senior Advocate for Latin America Rachel Schmidtke and Director for the Americas and Europe Yael Schacher:

“Yesterday, the government of Costa Rica issued a state of emergency due to the increased number of displaced people making their way through the country to reach the U.S.-Mexico border. Costa Rica has long been a bastion of protection in the Americas for those seeking safety and support. However, this long-held tradition is eroding under the enormous pressures this small country is facing, especially under an increasingly restrictive administration that has placed limits on access to asylum and work authorization. Costa Rica needs more support from the U.S. and other donors to continue its legacy of humanitarian good will towards those fleeing persecution, violence, and instability.

The majority of the people making the dangerous trek through the Darien Gap are Venezuelans, who are coming both directly from Venezuela and from other countries in the region. While the U.S. has created the CHNV parole program with the goal of providing legal pathways to Venezuelans (as well as Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans), many Venezuelans do not know about the program or lack passports or sponsors in the United States to use it. Increasing numbers of people crossing the Darien gap from Ecuador and countries beyond the hemisphere are fleeing rising insecurity and have no alternative pathways. The U.S. must broaden its pathways and work with regional partners to ensure that there are more viable options for protection and integration, both in the U.S. and in other host countries in the region.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Refugees International Media and Communications Manager Etant Dupain