Blogia

Kristin in Nicaragua

field work

field work

This weekend I travelled to Chinandega - about 2 1/2 hours’ drive northwest from Managua - to conduct "trabajo de campo" with Servicio Jesuita de Migrantes, one of the NGOs I volunteer with here. We conduct talleres (workshops) on the human rights of migrants, using the U.N. "Convención de 1990" as the legal framework. It’s basically popular education with returned migrants and their family members, so they know what their rights are when they migrate to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panamá, Guatemala, or the U.S., and know how to solicit the needed documents before migrating in order to migrate "documented". Our taller Saturday was held in a community of a sugar plantation called Monte Rosa-- very interesting how these communities have sprouted up to house workers on the plantation over the years. Sunday morning the workshop was held in a rural community called Liborio about 2km down a dusty rocky dirt road from the main highway. Field work like this = heat, sweat, more heat, more sweat, especially in Chinandega, which is probably one of the hottest departamentos in Nicaragua. So you sweat, you support the heat, you feel like you might suffocate because of it, and you continue to teach and conduct your workshop as if you weren’t standing in wet clothes and mopping sweat off your brow and back. Despite the heat and discomfort, I love this work, and feel incredibly blessed to have made contact with SJM and to have (even if temporarily) joined their team. Pictured here are myself and Noel, my colleague from SJM. We make a great team, sharing the responsibility of leading different parts of the workshop and then conducting interviews afterwards, collecting "testimonios" of migration experiences that SJM will use in their annual "Informe" on the status of migration in Nicaragua. Great stuff. paz

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"i feel it in my heart"

"i feel it in my heart"

This is the response I’ve received a number of times in the past two weeks as I’ve engaged in another round of in-depth, informal interviews with children in my study families. These interviews have usually been conducted over the treat of their choice (which has been either ice cream or pollo "Tip Top" - basically the Nicaraguan version of KFC), and I’ve used them to try to explore in more depth children’s emotional experiences of their mothers’ migration. Needless to say, these interviews are incredibly challenging, especially when children’s eyes well up with tears, and I feel inept to help them in any concrete way. I console myself by feeling that just the act of listening is of some good - but I also recognize that for the most part, these are kids and preteens who are coping incredibly well with the absence of their mothers, with the economic poverty in which they live, and I am conscious of not wanting to dredge up feelings that they otherwise are managing to deal with on their own. I observe the children in their households and barrios as they play, smile, obediently help their grandmothers and tías around the house, do their homework, and generally go about the business of being kids. Nonetheless, in my interviews, children have repeated that they feel the sadness of their mothers’ absence "en mi corazón". I find this a powerful metaphor of loss, and of the consequences of transnational migration for children "left behind". (pictured here is 8 year old Selso Alberto, whose mother is in Costa Rica)

survey of costa rican attitudes towards migrants

Just to follow up on my earlier post, a story in the Nicaraguan daily newspaper La Prensa in June '09 reported the results of a national survey in Costa Rica, conducted by researchers at IDESPO at the Costa Rican National University. 54% of those Costa Ricans surveyed felt that immigration generates delinquency and other social problems, while 17% felt that migrants take jobs away from Costa Ricans, and 13% thought migration absorbs state resources. However, the same survey found 54% of Costa Ricans believe that migrants do necessary jobs for a lower wage than Costa Ricans themselves would. I share these findings just as a way of supporting the impressions of Patricia posted a few days ago, along with many other migrants and family members we have interviewed, who have shared experiences of discrimination in Costa Rica.

the experience of nicaraguans in costa rica

At the SfAA meetings a few weeks ago in Mexico, I found myself seated at dinner across from a nice Costa Rican doctoral student who adamantly insisted that there wasn’t the kind of strong stigmatization and discrimination against Nicaraguans in his country as I was describing (I had been talking about my research with families of migrants in Nicaragua, and the experiences i’ve had working with NGOs on human rights and documentation issues). Needless to say, I might not have been as effective as I could have been over that dinner table conversation in expressing these experiences. Today I was reviewing the transcript of an interview conducted with "Patricia", a woman in her early 40s who has migrated both to Costa Rica and España in the last decade and thought she says better than I ever could what these experiences mean. In Costa Rica, Patricia worked in a variety of jobs, including empleada domestica, cutting coffee in the harvest season, and also in a supervisory role in a factory (she has a college degree in industrial engineering). In describing her experiences in Costa Rica, Patrica said the following (I’m pasting her Spanish, and following it with my English translation). I’m hoping this provides some insight, some greater sympathy, and a dose of humanity to the way we perceive and interact with migrants, including those in our neighborhoods and communities. Paz.

“Si hay una cosa. Como nicaragüense viviendo en Costa Rica yo me sentía como extranjera. Nunca me sentí como bien, verdad como decir estar uno en su país. Sino que me sentía como que estaba usurpando algo. Otro lugar donde no debía de estar. Porque en principio las personas cuando le encuentran a uno la forma de hablar que uno no habla como ellos, que uno no es costarricense pues desde ese momento ya le están viendo extraño a uno, si. … Me decían nica. No dicen nicaragüense. Me decían ¿usted es nica? Si les decía yo. Ellos decían: “ya decía yo”. ¿Por qué? Por el hablado… No se porque, pero tienen la idea que los nicaragüenses somos analfabetas. Tienen la idea de qué no tenemos casas. Tienen la idea que somos miserables. Ellos tienen la idea que todos los nicas que están allá es porque son miserables. Ellos tienen esa idea. Y la verdad no es así, pues. A veces uno va porque primero por la falta de empleo acá y segundo porque uno quiere sentirse útil. No es porque necesariamente seamos miserables. Pero eso es lo que ellos creen de los nicaragüenses.”

"Yes there’s one thing. As a nicaraguan living in Costa Rica I felt like a foreigner. I never felt good, really like one feels being in their own country. Instead I felt like I was usurping (taking) something in another place where I shouldn’t have been. Because at first when people find your way of talking that isn’t like theirs, they know that you aren’t Costa Rican, and well from that moment they look at you strangely.. They called me "nica" (a despreciative term); they don’t say "Nicaragüense". That asked me "are you Nica?" and I said "yes". They said "I told you so". Why? For my way of talking. I don’t know why, but they have the idea that all Nicaraguans are illiterate. They have the idea that we are homeless. They think that we are wretched. They have the idea that all nicas are there (in Costa Rica) because we are scoundrels. They have this idea. And this isn’t the truth. Sometimes one goes (migrates) for the lack of work here (in Nicaragua) and second because one wants to feel useful. It’s not necessarily because we are wretched. But this is what they think about Nicaraguans."

via crucis/semana santa

via crucis/semana santa

today, friday, is celebrated as "santo viernes" here in nicaragua. actually thursday was "santo jueves" and basically all of managua is closed down since wednesday afternoon in celebration of semana santa. this week, many managuans head to the beaches (tens of thousands flocking the most popular beaches along the pacific coast), and the city pretty much closes down (i think i’m in the only open cafe in town). still, thousands celebrated santo viernes this morning with an 8am procession commemorating the fourteen "stations of the cross" along jesus’ march to the crucifiction. as i’ve said, i’m not a religious scholar, but these popular catholic traditions are incredibly fascinating, and important to me as an anthropologist trying to understand nicaraguan culture. today’s march headed down what is normally a busy avenue - carretera masaya - for several kilometers, ending up at the main cathedral. most people wore white, to symbolize peace; others downed purple robes imitating jesus of nazareth. some people walked backwards, others barefoot, others blindfolded, as ways of paying back "promesas" made to jesus (e.g. for health, cures, or resolutions for other personal, family, or financial problems). many infants and small children were dressed up as angels, complete with white robes and wings; and those well-prepared for the blazing sun brought large sombrillas (umbrellas), hats, sunglasses, and bottles of water. the usual throng of vendors also marched alongside the processants, halking sunglasses, hats, baho vigoron (a light meal of fried pork and nicaraguan salad - cabbage, carrots, and cucumbers), and soft drinks. the thousands of managuans filling the carretera and overflowing into side streets came from all social classes, sharing their devotion to this tradition and to their catholic faith. pictured is a view of the march, somewhere out of the frame is a truck carrying an image of christ on the cross, his head adorned with a crown of thorns. every so often, (for a total of 14 stops), the truck would stop, and the archbishop of managua riding along would give a brief biblical lesson. fascinating stuff.

Society for Applied Anthropology Conference

This past week, I was in Mérida, México at the SfAA meetings. I co-organized a panel with my colleague Maria Claudia Duque Paramo, who is based at the U Pontifica Javeriana in Bogotá Colombia. Our panel title was: "Vulnerabilities and Exclusions in Global Migration research: ideologies, Practices, and Interventions with Latin American and Caribbean Migrant-Sending Families", and we had a strong set of papers focusing on the experiences of migration for families in sending communities in Colombia, Mexico, and Nicaragua. My paper was titled: "Abuelas and Abandonment: Exploring the Impacts of Mother Migration on Intergenerational Caregiving in Nicaraguan Sending Families" and I used the opportunity to talk about the challenges of recognizing the emotional consequences of mother migration for the abuelas who often assume caregiving of children left behind while not blaming mother migrants for leaving/migrating. We had a fantastic discussant: Dr. Ann Miles of Western Michigan U, and her comments along with our discussion and our conversation into lunch afterwards with all the panelists gave me a lot to think about, and to continue to work on in my next months of fieldwork. I'm glad I went to these conferences, but I'm tired of traveling and looking forward to getting back into my routine of work and life in Managua, where I hear temperatures are hitting record highs!

fulbright conference in panamá

fulbright conference in panamá

Last week I went to Panamá for the Fulbright regional conference, where I joined about 25 other Fulbright students from all of Central America. While it was unfortunate we didn't get much free time to explore (I'd love to have more time in Panama City, which seems to be a fascinating place), we did have the opportunity to meet and learn about the projects of all other Fulbrighters from the region. In my presentation, I talked about project design, methodology, some preliminary findings, and my collaborative work with NGOs. However, what people remembered most was that I mentioned that I see a psychologist on a regular basis to talk about issues related to my research! Imagine how of everything we tell people, what they remember! In all, it was a good time, especially getting back in touch with some of the friends I met in Washington DC at our Fulbright conference last June. (Pictured is Ariana, Fulbright scholar, Panamá). I also took the opportunity to interview one of the mother migrants of the families in my study who lives and works as a doméstica in Panamá City - this was a very interesting and moving experience. Next week I'm off to Mérida México for the Society for Applied Anthropology meetings. paz y amor. 

luis enrique

luis enrique

salsero extraordinaire, returned to his native nicaragua for a set of concerts this week. my friend roxanne (working for Witness for Peace here) and i went last night to the outdoor venue, "Mundo e", for a sold-out 2+ hour show. Luis Enrique was tireless in his presentation of his past decades of exitos, including a homenaje to Salvador Cardenal (Nicaraguan folk singer who passed away this week) with Katia Cardenal (my favorite Nicaraguan singer), a rendition of the famous ballad "Nicaragua, Nicaragüita" that revved the crowd into a frenzy of national pride, and ending with the grand finale of his recent hit, "Yo No Sé Mañana". if you haven’t heard it, download it from ITunes, it’s definitely a jam. paz y amor, k

more interviews and big watermelons

more interviews and big watermelons

in the past few days, i've been able to complete interviews on the "pensar mucho" comlex with four grandmothers in my study. last week, i did two interviews in managua; today i took the trip to the rural community of ochomogo, about 75km outside managua, and completed two more interviews. the results are very interesting; for me, one of the most interesting things remains how women's explanations and experiences of migration and emotional distress coincide despite rural-urban and other differences. with all these interviews, i'm having a hard time keeping up with field notes, but that's the challenge of fieldwork, balancing data collection, analysis, reflection, and writing (along with other hardships, like the heat, trying to receive mail from the US, and losing your debit card - but that's a story i will leave out of this post!). sometimes i feel i'm drowning in all the data i'm collecting, but soon i hope to make some time to look more carefully at my notes and interview transcripts and focus more attention on analysis. as a side note: watermelons are in full season right now, so on the way home from ochomogo, we stopped on the side of the road and bought some sweet, ripe, red, and juicy watermelons: the biggest at 30 córdobas (about $1.50); the smallest, the one i bought, at only 5 córdobas (about 25 cents)!!!

reiterative data collection

With 17 families now enrolled in my study, and 3 more identified, i am doing fine with data collection in terms of numbers of families. However, i decided that i needed to understand in more depth several themes that have emerged across my grandmother interviews thus far. These themes related to the emotional dimension of women's experiences as caregivers/heads of household/mothers of migrant daughters/grandmothers of children left behind by mother migrants. In particular, my attention has been drawn to how women in my study talk about three themes: "pensar mucho" (thinking too much), "depresión" (depression), and "presión" (a gloss for high or low blood pressure). I am thinking about these themes as what we in medical anthropology might term "embodied idioms of distress", or ways that women somatically express the pain and hardship of their lives. In order to get a better understanding of these, I've developed another interview guide that I'm in the process of applying to a small subset of women from my study - I am thinking 6 women in total. This past week, I did two of these "third round" grandmother interviews, and some quite interesting ideas emerged, including what I am coming to see as (again what in medical anthropology we'd call) an "explanatory model" of the association: namely, that "pensar mucho" can lead to "depresión", which in turn can produce alterations in "presión". I have a lot more work to do on this - both in terms of data collection and in terms of thinking this through analytically. But for now, this is the direction my fieldwork is taking. Just a note: I will be out the next few weeks in Panamá at a Fulbright conference and then Mérida, México for the meetings of the Society for Applied Anthropology; so my blog posts may be infrequent until after Semana Santa (the last week of March/first week of April). paz y amor.

focus group: migration and vivienda

focus group: migration and vivienda

This past week, along with the Red de Mujeres Familiares de Migrantes (Network of women family members of migrants), I spent two days attending workshops, focus groups, and interviews focused on the relationship between migration and housing issues. This small study was coordinated by the Costa Rican NGO that finances the Red, and resulted from what was perceived by Nica women migrants living in Costa Rica as the great need for access to affordable housing. Most Costa Rican government programs exclude non-citizens from benefits (sound familiar?), so that even Nicaraguans who are permanent residents in CR and have "legal" work permits can’t access these programs. As a result, many women migrants working as domestic employees in San José end up taking residence in the homes where they work, often having their salaries deducted up to $100US or more per month for the rent of small rooms. (Of course, living where they work also implies less time off, less personal time and space, etc.) However, while housing may be a main issue for Nica women migrants living in CR, it is less clear that is a central priority for family members of migrants here in Nicaragua. In my own interviews (with what are now my the 17 families participating in my study) the three priorities on which remittances sent home by migrants are spent are: 1) food, 2) education, and 3) health care. While families with longer-duration migrants eventually are able to invest in home improvements if they desire to do so, during the first few years of migration, housing is less a priority than these other basic needs. Nonetheless, some interesting themes emerged during the focus group this past week, including: the importance of women getting their names on legal titles to their homes and property (rather than leaving this only in the name of their husbands and thus being vulnerable to losing everything when, as they often do, their husbands leave for other women), and the fact that most women dream of having a comfortable home of their own to leave to their children (so having a home is not just the "American Dream", but more a generally shared life goal). Also interesting is that conflicts over land and property stemming from the war years of the 1980s continue to plague some families, with disputes over ownership at times dividing siblings and extended kin. While housing issues are not a main focus of my own study, in several of the families I work with, housing has played a central role in their migration stories. For example, in the case of "Aurora", her daughter "Elizabeth" left for Spain two years ago and works long hours as an adult caretaker in Madrid. This mother migrant’s main goal in leaving Nicaragua was to pay off her debts on the home that is now in her name (she changed the title after divorcing her husband a year before migrating), in order to leave the house in the names of her two young daughters. For Elizabeth, then, housing is in fact a central focus of migration. [Note: pictured here are women participants in the focus group on la vivienda.]

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yes it's hot

a friend of mine in san diego said he looked up the weather and was surprised to find it was 95F here. that's a good day. it's hot. all the time. like get out of the shower and sweat hot. stand in whatever shade you can find and still sweat, hot. drink water all day and still be dehydrated, hot. sweat and shower and sweat again all day, hot. some lucky enough to work in a/c offices or drive around in their a/c cars. the vast majority of the rest of us just walk, stand in the blaring sun at the bus stop, sweat in the vinyl seats of taxi cabs, lay on the top of our sheets with fans on full blast at night and still get no sleep, and generally suck it up. it's even hotter now, since it's the dry season, no rain anywhere this side of the pacific since early december. everything once green is now brown and DRY. people still burn trash all the time, and i worry a blaze is going to catch and light all the empty lots on fire one day. but the trash burners know what they're doing, i think. i also can't figure out what season it is. we just finished "summer" vacation (dec and jan) from school, but now people say it's "winter" and that "summer" will start after semana santa (last week of march). that's, they say, when it will get "really hot". great.

spin mix

some of you know i'm teaching spin classes 3-5 times/week at a gym here in managua. it's a blast! definitely helps me shake off the depression and funk that comes with fieldwork. my students love my classes and give me animo! here's my playlist for tonight: (1) Orgullo de Padre, Los Orishas; (2) Represent, Orishas; (3) Beautiful Liar, Beyonce & Shakira; (4) Para mi Barrio (Reggaeton Mix); (5) El Ritmo no Perdona, Daddy Yankee; (6) Oye mi Canto (NORE y Tego Calderon); (7) El Bueno, El Mayo y El Feo, Vico C, Tego Calderon; (8) Que Pasa? Orishas; (9) Julito Marana, Tego Calderon; (10) Connexion, Orishas; (11) Pobre Diabla, Don Omar; (12) Espancando O Macaco, Marcelo D2; (13) Triunfo, Orishas; (14) Samba da Bencao, Marcelo D2; (15) Fotografia, Juanes y Nelly Furtado.  Straight up Reggaeton and Latin Hip Hop for ya! sorry, haters, but ride with me when I get back to L.A. and you'll love it! peace.

depresión y presión

as part of my interview schedule, with every abuela in my study i am conducting a "health and wellbeing interview". the interview question guide is loosely based on the interview designed by my advisor, linda garro, which we used in our work at the center on everyday lives of family (my last GSR research job at UCLA). i ask about personal and family health, recent illness episodes, any chronic conditions, and views of how migration has impacted health and wellbeing. like all my interviews, this one can last anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the length of women’s responses - what they want to say and share with me. while i haven’t analyzed the data systematically, i am finding particularly interesting the fact that in many of the interviews, women talk about "depresión" and "presión". at first, i wasn’t sure if this was the same thing, all part of one psychosomatic complaint. but as i’ve been able to ask more specific questions, it has become clear that depression is a common, shared experience for women. and like i wrote about in my master’s thesis, women link it to "preocupaciones" (worries) or "pensar mucho" (thinking too much). i definitely have to think a lot more about this, about what in medical anthropology we’d call women’s "explanatory model" of depression. and about "presión", women are referring to high blood pressure, which sometimes they have been diagnosed with, and sometimes not. one positive thing about the current Ortega administration is that medical care for the majority of Nicaragua’s poor has improved, so once diagnosed with a chronic condition such as high bp (or diabetes, another common complaint among abuelas in my study), people are able to receive medical care and their prescription medications essentially free of charge. still, the challenge for me is sorting out the relationship between these physiological conditions and the emotional dimensions of women’s lives, including their experiences of migration. big big challenge for my dissertation...

popular education: women & migration

popular education: women & migration

A central part of the work of the Red de Mujeres Familiares de Migrantes (Network of Women Family Members of Migrants, one of the two NGOs I’m actively collaborating with during my fieldwork) includes popular education. Through a "comunidad de aprendizaje", or learning community, women who otherwise wouldn’t have access to higher or ongoing education act as trainers or educators on topics that they have personal experience with or affinity towards. The group of women who form part of the Red have completed several trainings on the general topic of women and migration, and now a smaller group of women is replicating this educational experience for other women family members of migrants. Friday Jan. 22 (i know, i’m a bit delayed in this post!) I attended the first "replica" workshop, along with about 30 women, where topics related to migration, the feminization of migration, nicaraguan migration to costa rica, and its impacts on families were discussed. This photo shows one of the posters made by a small group during the workshop, and lists questions and responses such as: "Why do we think our family members migrate?" - due to poverty, scare resources, the need for a better quality of life, and to offer our children a better future; "How have our lives changed as a result of migration?" - distance/separation of the family, more responsibility for the children of those who leave, abandonment. Needless to say, working with this group of women is an enriching experience, it not only provides additional information for my study, but more importantly provides me a way of feeling part of a larger project of empowerment and self-help that goes beyond my research project. paz.

Niños, Ochomogo

Niños, Ochomogo

I now have two families in my study in Ochomogo, a dry, hot, dusty, windy community in the volcanic lowlands of Rivas, about an hour and a half bus ride from Managua. I spent the day yesterday with Juana and her family. Pictured are Juana’s esposo, Pedro, and her nietos: Elizier and Loryi. Juana and Pedro have two daughters and one son who are living and working in Costa Rica (the son in construction, the daugthers in domestic service). Juana describes migration as necessary for the survival of Ochomogo families, who have few other economic alternatives, although she laments being separated from her children (and from two grandaughters who recently left her household to live with their parents in CR). On a happier note, Elizier is a smart, friendly, helpful, and polite 11 year old who is great at playing and taking care of his 3 y.o. cousin, Loryi. (And for those who know my little guy Salvador, you’ll notice the resemblance with their cat, who I wanted to take home with me!)

apocaliptico

thus read the headlines of nicaragua's daily newspapers this week, referring to the earthquake in haiti and the humanitarian crisis that has followed. our hearts and thoughts go out to all haitians, to the aid and ngo workers that are trying to get relief to those most-affected, to a country that has suffered so much from poverty, political, natural and human-made disasters over the years. (note: anyone wanting to donate to good relief efforts is encouraged to look into Partners in Health: http://act.pih.org/earthquake). interestingly, nicaraguans empathize on a deep level with this type of suffering: people here refer to the earthquake of '72 that devastated managua, and from which the capital has never really recovered. they also talk about past and present possibilities of droughts, tsunamis, floods, and the high winds that are currently sweeping most of the pacific coast, as prescient reminders of our vulnerability to natural phenomena, to climate changes, to losing everything at any time. on a lighter note, weather in managua this week has been cooler than it has in years, with night temps dipping into the 60s (F), people are complaining of the "frio" as if it were snowing and below zero! 

visiting migrants

visiting migrants

while many migrants return to nicaragua during the december holidays, this year "the crisis" and economic limitations have made many decide to forgo visits home in favor of saving money and sending remittances. as a result, of the 10 families in my study, thus far i have only been able to interview 1 mother migrant, whom i spoke with at length this morning. our conversation included details about her migration, about her responsibilities as a "transnational mother", and about how her migration has impacted herself, her two children, and the rest of her family. she leaves jan. 10 to return to costa rica, so i was grateful for the opportunity to talk with her. pictured here is the entire family: mother migrant, her mother (the abuela), her sister, and hijo/as. 

Feliz Año Nuevo

Managua has basically been shut down these past few weeks, with everyone on vacation, either staying at home with family and extended family (malls and public spaces have been packed with family members visiting from abroad - LA Dodgers caps and jerseys abound!), or travelling to spend the holiday by the ocean, with favorite spots at "el mar" on the Pacific Coast being San Juan del Sur (about 2 1/2 hrs southwest of Managua) or Pochomil (about 1 1/2 hrs northwest). I've been laying low in Managua the past few days: spending New Year's Eve with my friend Karen, dancing the night away with her aunt, sister-in-law, and nieces, eating "sopa borracha" (a conoction of bread drenched in rum and honey), watching fireworks, and sharing hugs and kisses as we welcomed the new year together at midnight. New year's day I went to mass at the main cathedral in Managua with my friend Claudia, a "misa campal", meaning outdoor mass, and sat on the grass under palm trees in whatever shade we could find from the blazing afternoon sun; along with probably 1,000 other people present, listened to the monsignor of Managua give a sermon about ecological responsibility. While not Catholic, I enjoyed the message: "If you want to promote peace, conserve the creation" (apparently the Pope's lema for 2010). Tomorrow things get back to normal for most of Managua, with offices and businesses reopening after the long vacation. I have interviews and visits planned... Happy New Year to all; peace, love, and many blessings.

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Costa Rica Migration Policy

Last Friday, Dec. 11th, I participated in a workshop along with about 25 women family members from the Red de Mujeres Familiares de Migrantes, including mothers, spouses, daughters, and sisters of migrants. The workshop focused on the new Costa Rica Migration Law, which was approved August 2009, and will become effective March 2010. The workshop was given by Martha Gutierrez of the Dept. of Social Sciences at the University of Central America, where I continue to enjoy a productive collaboration. The new “tica” law is a result of pressure from civil society groups within Costa Rica, who advocated for changes to some of the more draconian elements of the previous migration law, including a provision for a “border zone” inside Costa Rica territory where immigrants could be rounded up, detained, and deported without due legal process. As a reminder, Costa Rica is currently the main destination for Nicaraguan migrants, about 150,000 of whom emigrate to the neighbor country each year. Of the Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica, it is estimated that 40% do not have legal documents (are “undocumented”), meaning they lack Costa Rica residency, work permits, and sometimes even documents proving their Nicaraguan citizenship. (The obstacles to Nicaraguans obtaining their “cédula” (identity card), birth certificate, and passport are many, but mainly include cost and access issues.) While the new tica law has some positive elements, such as eliminating the above-mentioned border zone, it also tightens requirements for Costa Rican legal residency, which will present a barrier for many Nicaraguan immigrants. The new law establishes procedures that are suspected to facilitate deportation proceedings by making it more difficult for immigrants to access consular services. As a result, migrant rights advocates are urging the Nicaraguan Government to provide a means for a separate “consular registration”, which could be processed at Nica Consulates in Costa Rica, and thus would facilitate legal documentation. In the workshop, the general lack of knowledge among Nicaraguans about procedures and requirements for legal documentation was emphasized, and family members were encouraged to spread the word about the importance of processing such documentation before March 2010, when the new law will bring new fees and requirements into effect. As a postscript, much migration policy in Latin America "receptor" countries such as Costa Rica is modelled after U.S. immigration laws; even more reason to push for humane immigration reform now! I believe Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) is introducing a Comprehensive Immigration Reform measure in Congress this session - worth supporting.

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¿Y esta publicidad? Puedes eliminarla si quieres