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More than 52,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed the border this year, twice as many as in 2013. The influx of minors from Central America and Mexico has become a pressing issue for the administration, as President Obama is seeking substantial funding to deal with the crisis. At the same time, Congress is debating  the best approach to take, with some leaders pushing for more action from Central America and Mexico and others branding it a humanitarian crisis.

Read what experts have to say in the Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor here.

Michael Shifter testified on Wednesday, June 16th before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security. That afternoon, the Dialogue hosted a discussion on unaccompanied minors and US policy. Rubén Zamora, former Ambassador to the US, and Doris Meissner, founder of the Migration Policy Institute, will offer commentary.

The Dialogue’s Manuel Orozco provides a detailed analysis of the situation here.
Peter Hakim offers his opinion here.

Joaquín Villalobos comments on the situation here.

MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT: Migrants abroad have been a strong source of economic growth for nearly every country in the region. Public officials, however, have been largely unable to develop policies that effectively leverage the economic activities of migrants and harness their full economic potential. MORE


The Dialogue’s work on the Central America region examines developments in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, as well as Mexico, with a focus on democratic governance, security, immigration, drug policy, remittances, education reform, energy integration, press freedom, and trade capacity building. The Dialogue’s Central American Working Group is designed to produce fresh, balanced analyses of the region’s most pressing challenges along with practical proposals to address them, and to keep Washington informed. The group includes a diverse mix of some 30 policy analysts, political and labor leaders, economists, and NGO and business executives.

A new Dialogue initiative on security and migration in Central America and Mexico is developing a joint program with leading research centers in the region on two of the most important challenges their countries now face: (1) the threats posed by escalating crime and violence, and (2) the failure of governments to address the political, social, and security problems emerging from continued illegal migration flows to the United States.


Michael Shifter, President
Peter Hakim, President Emeritus
Manuel Orozco, Senior Fellow
Joan Caivano, Deputy to the President/Director Special Projects
Caitlin Reilly, Program Assistant

For more information, please contact Caitlin Reilly at


Año de elecciones en Latinoamérica, by Peter Hakim, Infolatam and China Policy Review, 20 July 2014. (English)

U.S. should have tried nation-building in Central America, not Iraq and Afghanistan, by Robert McCartney, The Washington Post 16 July 2014.

To keep kids from our borders, fix things farther south, by Peter Hakim, Reuters, 14 July 2014 and Infolatam, 27 August 2014.

La permanencia de la corrupción en Latinoamérica, by Peter Hakim, Infolatam and China Policy Review, 30 June 2014 (English / Chinese).

Una nueva agenda de política comercial para las Américas, by Peter Hakim, Infolatam and China Policy Review, 4 June 2014 (English)

The United States and Central America’s Northern Tier: The Ongoing Disconnect, by Hector Silva Ávalos, March 2014.

Natural Gas in Central America
by Paul Shortell, Kathryn Baragwanath and Carlos Sucre in The Inter-American Dialogue’s Energy Policy Group 7 March, 2014.

Este 2014, ¡seamos el mejor país del mundo!, by Salvador Paíz, El Periódico, 9 January 2014.

Will a New Development Accord Succeed in Guatemala?, by Salvador Paiz, Jeffrey Puryear, and James M. Meyer, from the Dialogue's daily Latin America Advisor, 6 November 2013.

Why Are Tensions Rising Between Nicaragua & its Neighbors?, by Francisco Campbell, Christine Wade, and Fernando Cepeda Ulloa, from the Dialogue's daily Latin America Advisor, 24 September 2013.

Colombia-Nicaragua ICJ Case Tests Region's Crisis Resolution Mechanisms, by Michael Shifter and Cameron Combs, World Politics Review, 5 December 2012. 

What Are the Implications of a Proposed Nicaragua Canal?, by  Nicolás Ardito Barletta, Mario Arana, Joaquín Jácome Diez, Carlos Fernando Chamorro, from the Dialogue's daily Latin America Advisor, 22 August 2012. 

Does El Salvador's Judicial Crisis Bode Ill for Democracy?, by Francisco Altschul, Mirte Postema, and Michael Shifter and Rachel Schwartz, from the Dialogue's daily Latin America Advisor, 31 July 2012. 

Are Central America Education Reforms Making the Grade?, by José Luis Guzmán, Roberto Moreno Godoy, Tamara Ortega Goodspeed, and Alexandra Solano, from the Dialogue's daily Latin America Advisor, 19 July 2012.



Migration & Development in Central America: Perceptions, Policies, and Further Opportunities/Migración y Desarrollo en América Central: Percepciones, Políticas y Nuevas Oportunidades, by Manuel Orozco and Julia Yansura, November 2013.

Political Reform in Central America: Are Democratic Institutions at Risk?, by Arturo Cruz, July 2013.

Regional Security Cooperation: An Examination of the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) and the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), Testimony by Michael Shifter before the US House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, 19 June 2013.

Organized Crime and Insecurity in Belize, by Julie López, January 2013.

Security in Nicaragua: Central America's Exception?/Seguridad en Nicaragua: ¿la excepción en Centroamérica?, by Roberto Cajina, January 2013.

Countering Criminal Violence in Central America, by Michael Shifter, Council on Foreign Relations Special Report, April 2012.


A Discussion of Costa Rica's Economic and Investment Outlook, 10 December 2014.

Panama's New President,
24 June 2014.

Costa Rica's President Visits the Dialogue, 24 June 2014.

Police and Corruption in El Salvador, 19 May 2014.

Perspectives on Crime and Violence in Central America, 2 May 2014.

The Promise of Participation: Civic Engagement in Honduras and Guatemala 2 May 2014.

Pressing Issues in Central America & Mexico, 28 February 2014.

The Implications of El Salvador's Elections, 7 February 2014.

A Conversation on US Cooperation in Central America and Mexico, 11 December 2013.

The Implications of Honduras' Elections, 27 November 2013.

Migration and Development in Central America and Mexico: Current Trends and Policy Options, 18 November 2013.

A Conversation with Hugo Martínez, 23 October 2013.

Political Stability in Central America: Is Democracy at Risk, 18 July 2013.

Nicaragua's Canal: What Should We Expect?, 19 June 2013.  

Congressional Members' Working Group: President Obama's Visit and the Outlook for US Relations with Mexico and Central America, 22 May 2013.

A Conversation on President Obama’s Visit to Central America with the Region’s Ambassadors in Washington, 17 May 2013.



World Bank official: Costa Rica faces some painful choices in 2015, Dialogue event in The Tico Times, 12 December 2014.

El Salvador police corruption exposed by Diplomat-turned-scholar
Dialogue event in the Baltimore Post Examiner, 21 May, 2014. 

Costa Rica leftist seen clinching presidency in one-horse race Michael Shifter in The Virginia Gazette, 3 April, 2014.

Conferencia en EEUU analizó cómo enfrentar emigración ilegal desde Centroamérica Manuel Orozco in El Nuevo Herald,  3 January 2014.

¿Qué tanto afectan las elecciones en El Salvador a Estados Unidos? Michael Shifter on Noticias Mundo Fox,  29 January 2014.

Nicaragua prepara un 'mega canal' para robarle el negocio a Panamá, Margaret Myers in La Estrella, 5 January 2014.

An acid test for new leader, Michael Shifter in Oman Daily Observer, 7 December 2013.

Ortega Bid to Scrap Nicaragua Term Limits Up for Vote, Michael Shifter in Bloomberg News, 9 December 2013.

In Honduras slum, acid test for new leader's drug gang battle, Michael Shifter in WTAQ, 4 December 2013.

Tight Honduras vote offers swing to left or militarised drug fight, Michael Shifter in Business Recorder, 25 November 2013.

Latin America’s ‘bad boy’ leaders enjoy high support, survey finds, Michael Shifter in The Kansas City Star, 14 October 2013.

El 'Barco de Pandora', Dialogue cited in El Nuevo Herald, 6 August 2013.

No ties? No problem as China courts Taiwan's remaining allies, Margaret Myers in Reuters, 6 August 2013.

Nicaragua Canal: bonanza or boondoggle?, Margaret Myers in Nicaragua Dispatch, 10 July 2013.

No cesan las dudas sobre el Gran Canal, Margaret Myers in La Prensa, 29 June 2013.