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Inflation impacts Central American migration patterns

Rising inflation that has forced the prices of staples like cooking gas and chicken is now increasingly changing patterns immigration to the US. High inflation has allowed for opportunistic price raises on top of costs that have been rising for years amid barriers to migration in the US and Mexico fuel the demand for smugglers.


Still, such increasing costs do not deter attempts amid continued poverty, instability, and violence in the Northern Triangle countries. Rather, migrants have often turned to taking out debt or borrowing large sums from families. The costs are higher than just price increases, with fighting for lucrative human trafficking passages increasing the control of smuggling cartels and fueling violence between such groups.


Now infamous migrant caravans were in part a response to the increased danger, but Mexico’s National Guard has largely restricted this option. With only illicit services remaining, such activities are estimated to contribute $5.5bn to $7bn to criminal enterprises, according to the UN. This money then funds further corruption and destabilization in Central America, creating a vicious cycle.


Meanwhile, in northern Mexico, interconnection with the US economy has imported inflation and forced higher wages in turn. Such cost increases have cooled the area’s factories, with the manufacturing sector contracting for 22 straight months. Decreasing opportunities in local factories appear then to be reigniting long-declining Mexican immigration as Central Americans face restrictions and often prohibitive costs to get to the US.

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