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Migration Dialogue provides timely, factual and nonpartisan information and analysis of international migration issues through five major activities: the newsletters Migration News and Rural Migration News, Changing Face and other Research & Seminars, and the Sloan West Coast Program on Science and Engineering Workers.
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Central America has 45 million people in seven countries, ranging from 16 million in Guatemala to 400,000 in Belize. The big three, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, include two-thirds of all Central Americans and have become a major new source of immigrants to the US.
Few Central Americans moved to the US until fighting displaced thousands in the 1980s, some of whom migrated to the US. The US granted asylum to Nicaraguans fleeing a government that the US opposed, but not to Guatemalans and Salvadorans fleeing governments the US supported.
Courts and legislation allowed most Central Americans in the US to eventually become immigrants and US citizens. These anchors, plus Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and earthquakes in El Salvador in 2001 that prompted the US to grant "temporary protected status" that included the right to work in the US, brought more Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans to the US. (www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status-deferred-enforced-departure/temporary-protected-status)