Regional Forum on Migration and Peace: “Challenges and Opportunities for the Reinsertion of Migrant Returnees and Refugees in El Salvador”

On Thursday, September 7, 2017 – The Regional Forum on Migration and Peace was held: “Challenges and Opportunities for the Reinsertion of Returned Migrants and Refugees in El Salvador”. The event took place at the Intercontinental Hotel “Las Arboledas” from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The purpose of this forum was “to analyze the challenges and the labor insertion for migrants, as well as to know the good practices existing in El Salvador and in the Region”. With the realization of this forum, it is expected that the public, private and civil sectors, the academy and churches, have a greater knowledge of these issues and with possibilities of implementing them in the country. In order to meet the objectives, two panels were carried out, the first one developed the theme: “Socio-Labor Context of Central America and its Challenges”, in which the Fr. Mauro Verzeletti, CS, Director of the Pastoral Center for Migrants of the Archdiocese of San Salvador and Regional Director of SINM was present. He explained  “The challenges of the regional and current market for the labor insertion of migrants”; Ms. Jeannette Aguilar, Director of the Institute of Public Opinion of the UCA, spoke on “Challenges and opportunities for the labor insertion of migrants”; Mr. Gemayel Fuentes, an advisor to Casa del Migrante of Tecun Umán, spoke about the “Experience and Model of Labor Integration of the Migrant Population on the Guatemalan-Mexican Border of the Scalabrini Mission at the Migrant Center in Tecum Umán”; Fr. Flor María Riggoni, Director of the Migrant Center of Tapachula, Mexico, shared the topic on “Experience in labor insertion in the migration route in Mexico”. Sandra Aguilar, UNICEF Protection Officer in El Salvador, made comments on this first panel. Fr. Mauro Verzeletti expressed that it is necessary to analyze our reality because migrations usually become a great tragedy, and the work from the ethical perspective constitutes the dignity of the human being. Jeanette Aguilar expressed a questioning about the labor supply that conditions and preserves the gender roles. They also stated that it is necessary to break with traditionalist schemes that have been repeated and deepen gaps between young people, robotics, virtual design, serious new and attractive. Gemayel Fuentes mentioned that Salvadorans are the third population that they receive the most in the Center, and they are mostly under 35 years. Fr. Flor María Riggoni told the audience that in Mexico there is the possibility of benefiting from a migration amnesty as long as the migrant proves that he or she stayed in that country since before January 1, 2015.

The second panel, entitled “Good practices for labor reintegration and inter-institutional and intersectoral coordination”, was given by Daniel Enrique Ortiz Tobar, an adviser to the Office of the Director General of Migration and Immigration, with the theme “Inter-sectorial Mechanism for Social Inclusion and labor force of the returned migrant population in El Salvador”; Fátima Bichara, Sourcing Analyst and Alejandra Sierra, Recruitment, External Sourcing Team Leader of the company TELUS, spoke on the “Model of labor opportunities for the labor insertion of migrants in deportation condition”; Elisa Carlaccini, Head of UNHCR’s Office in El Salvador, spoke on “Local integration of refugees: UNHCR experience in Central America”; Arturo Morales, of the company League Central America, with the theme, “Breaking paradigms in the labor insertion of the migrant population in condition of deportation”; and the comments to this panel were made by Gilma Lissette Pérez Valladares, Protection Assistant International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The speakers expressed that in 2012 the CONMIGRANTE was created, and in 2014 a study on migration policies was carried out. An effort has been made to the Welcome Home Program, which is being carried out with a legal approach, with a human approach, and there are currently 11 government institutions involved in receiving returnees. They are also working to improve the situation of regularization of Central Americans in El Salvador. For its part, the representative of TELUS said that they open the doors to diversity, part of social reality. The UNHCR representative said that there is a talk of local integration when you can feel at home despite being in a different country, it is a gradual process and depends on the will of the country of asylum, in this sense the legal aspect is important. Migrants should have a progressive access to a broader level of rights, similar to the condition of the citizens of the country. The representative of League Central America said they are aware as a company that they should help people who do not have opportunities in the country. In addition, with their labor project, they have benefited many people from the communities around the area where the business is located, helping them to succeed, making it easier for the employees to finish the unfinished studies. The company is transparent with its employees and that generates confidence and creates a better working environment. Finally, Fr. Mauro Verzeletti, CS, gave the words of Closing.