In the centuries since Europeans arrived to the New World, Latin America has been profoundly shaped by processes of migration to and from nation states in the region. This entry describes migration patterns during two eras of globalization and the interregnum between them, drawing on insights from different social science disciplines. The first era of globalization unfolded between 1800 and 1929 and entailed the mass migration of Europeans into Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, with smaller movements into other Latin American nations. Meanwhile, Mexico became the first migrant-sending nation in Latin America during the period 1900–1929. Mass European migration into the region ended during the Great Depression. The second era of globalization rested on multilateral organizations established in the wake of the Second World War but did not fully emerge until the 1980s and 1990s. From 1942 through 1964, Mexico mostly sent legal temporary workers to the United States. From 1965 to 1985, Mexico-U.S. migration was dominated by unauthorized migrants; from 1986 to 2008 by a combination of documented and undocumented migrants; and from 2009 onward by documented migrants. In the 1980s, other Latin American nations also emerged as senders of documented and undocumented migrants to the United States, especially from Central America. During the 1960s and 1970s Columbia became a major sender of undocumented migrants into Venezuela. Since 1990, in the blossoming of the second era of globalization, migration patterns have grown more complex, with nations throughout Latin America simultaneously sending migrants out to Europe and North America while also sending and receiving migrants from within the region. In the twenty-first century, Latin American migration increasingly appears to be motivated by the desire to escape threats related to global climate change, rising violence, and state failures rather than to access opportunities in destination countries, a shift requiring an end to the artificial division between migration studies and refugee studies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities(all)