8 countries address key aspects of migrant integration at Regional Forum: regularization, economic and social participation.

In a context in which the number of migrants in the region has doubled in the last 15 years, it is essential to promote the creation and implementation of programs, policies and strategies for the integration of migrants in Mesoamerica. This was the central theme of the "Forum on integration and its relationship with the regularization of migrants in Mesoamerica" held in San Jose, Costa Rica on August 4 and 5, 2022 with migration and labor authorities from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

"It is vital to ensure that the integration process is reciprocal, as will be beneficial for migrants but host communities must also recognize the needs and contribution of integrating migrants," said Michele Klein-Solomon, IOM regional director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean.

As a follow-up, "awareness-raising is needed to address prejudice and xenophobia in different spaces, such as classrooms and health centers, recognizing and addressing the population's concerns about the potential costs of immigration, but also highlighting its benefits," added Marlen Luna Alfaro, Costa Rica's Vice Minister of Government and Police.

During the forum, dialogue was encouraged on lines of action for the integration of migrants from the perspective of governments and their institutions at the national level, international organizations, academia, civil society and local governments. Among the experiences shared were the hiring of indigenous people as cultural mediators for health care issues in the border area between Costa Rica and Panama, the Regularization Plans in the Dominican Republic and the Migratory Amnesty in Belize.  In addition, strategies for the integration of returnees in Guatemala's migration policy, labor intermediation in Mexico, and the key role of embassies and consulates in guaranteeing the integration of their nationals in destination countries were also highlighted.

Other such initiatives where brought up from La Unión in El Salvador and La Chorrera in Panama, where the local and municipal level have facilitated access to regularization and promote integration into community dynamics. Along the same lines, the event was complemented with a visit to the 25 de Julio community in San José, Costa Rica. In this neighborhood, community spaces have been reclaimed for an urban vegetable garden, a skate park and play areas for children, benefiting migrants as well as the host community and facilitating their cohesion.

Among the conclusions of the forum, it was highlighted that regularization and integration are not linear processes, but that successful integration can help people to regularize; and in turn regularization facilitates economic and social participation, uniting some of the keys to integration. In addition, three key processes were highlighted to ensure effectiveness in integration processes: incorporating integration as a transversal axis in existing activities in which nationals and migrants interact, creating bonds of trust with migrant populations, and providing information on existing programs and support in community spaces.

This forum was held within the framework of IOM's Western Hemisphere Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. For more information, contact Estela Aragon, Research Officer for the program, at

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities