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New Research Offers Insights on How to Address Potential Migrants’ Needs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Many migrants and their families see migration as a critical lifeline while governments at times depict it as a threat. 

That’s just one key finding of new research the National Immigration Forum, Migration Policy Institute, RAND Corp. and Metropolitan Group published Wednesday, “Migration Narratives in Northern Central America: How Competing Stories Shape Policy and Public Opinion in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”  

Among other takeaways, the report shines light on the disconnect between fear- and deterrence-based narratives and what migrants actually are thinking about when they are considering whether to emigrate. This new insight can help policymakers, NGOs and others, both in the U.S. and in Central America, consider how to construct narratives that address the real needs of potential migrants.  

“Policymakers need to engage with stakeholders on the ground to ensure the policies they are pursuing are rooted to a true understanding of what actually moves migrants to action,” said Jennie Murray, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “They must work to build trust by properly setting expectations and delivering on promises to earn the credibility they need.” 

The full report is available in English, with the executive summary also translated into Spanish, via the Forum website. Recordings of a webinar Wednesday with the paper’s authors are available in English and Spanish. 

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