The current economic crisis in Argentina is almost
certain to affect migration patterns in Latin America. Historically a
relatively wealthy nation, Argentina has long been a magnet for workers
from its poorer neighbors. International organizations monitoring labor
and migration trends have noted that while most Latin American migrants
head to the United States, many have also sought out opportunities in
Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela
In its 2000 annual report, the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights said that within South America, Argentina and
Venezuela have attracted the largest numbers of migrants. Argentina, which
is second only to Brazil in size and population in South America, is
estimated to have almost 2 million immigrants, more than half of them from
Latin America. They come mainly from Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, and
Uruguay, says the Commission, an arm of the Organization of American
States. These immigrants have supplied labor mainly within the country's
informal sector and have included domestic workers, street vendors, and
unregulated construction workers.
At the same time, with Argentina's unemployment rates
currently estimated at more than 18 percent, Argentines themselves are
increasingly seeking opportunities elsewhere. A country of about 37
million that in earlier times attracted vast numbers of Europeans mainly
from Italy and Spain, Argentina is home to several million people who are
entitled to Spanish and Italian nationality.
"The desire to immigrate to Spain and Italy has
become a veritable phenomenon in Argentina, as hundreds of people queue up
every day at the Spanish and Italian consular offices," says a 2001
edition of the U.S.-based Migration News. The paper has also pointed out
that the Italian embassy in Buenos Aires granted more than 12,000
passports to Argentines of proven Italian origin in 2000.
While the new government of President Eduardo Duhalde has yet to set forth a definitive plan for coping with the country's economic crisis, further delays in reducing unemployment are likely to result in additional emigration and possibly in a crackdown against illegal immigration. Such a crackdown could have a ripple effect in neighboring economies as migrants seek employment back home.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Action on Aging distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.