Migration has always been a constant in human history. In a sense, it could be said that new countries, civilizations and empires invariably arise when large groups of people move to other regions in search of a new beginning. From this perspective, it has been widely accepted that the United States is essentially a nation built by immigrants.

However, since the dawn of the new century, and with the increase in political polarization, the discourse on immigration has become a contentious and challenging topic to address. The real impact, potential costs, and numerous benefits that can result from the arrival of new immigrants often get submerged in partisan discussions. These debates frequently revolve around the costs of providing services to newcomers and the potential security threats they pose.

Over the past decade, one of the most significant migratory flows has originated from Venezuela. This is due to the collapse of the economy following the spectacular failure of «Chavismo,» which dismantled the backbone of one of Latin America’s most robust economies, leaving millions of Venezuelans unemployed and plunged into poverty.

About 8 million Venezuelans have left the country, fleeing hunger and unemployment. They have migrated throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain and the United States. The largest recipient of migrants is Venezuela’s geographic neighbor, Colombia, with 2.5 million arrivals, according to figures from the New York Times. This is followed by Peru with about 1.3 million, Chile with 533,000, and the United States with 640,000 by 2021, according to data from the Pew Center.

Although political debates often emphasize the negative aspects of migration, overshadowing the positive aspects, immigrants also bring many benefits. These include stimulating the economy, filling jobs that locals do not want and fostering creativity and entrepreneurship.

According to a report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), there are at least five areas where the benefits of migration are very evident; one of these is the significant impact on the labor force. A study conducted in Chile revealed that between 2009 and 2017, the country’s GDP increased by 63 billion dollars, a growth attributed to the contributions of immigrants.

In addition to their role in the workforce, immigrants also contribute as entrepreneurs and investors. As per the IOM, Venezuelan immigrants in the Dominican Republic have made investments exceeding 553.3 million dollars. In Colombia, the impressive economic performance of 2019 is credited to Venezuelan immigrants. Furthermore, in Panama, Venezuelan households contributed 283 million dollars to the economy in 2022 alone.

In terms of their contribution as consumers, a report by ECLAC in Costa Rica discovered that the consumption of immigrant households was 10% higher than the general average. They contribute to the entire tax system of the country and to national savings. Not to mention the significant positive impact that remittances have on the economies of countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, where these incomes can account for up to 17% of the national gross product.

In this edition, Impacto sheds light on some aspects of the complex landscape of migration, particularly the contributions, the positive aspects, and the labor, cultural and human wealth brought by both old and new Venezuelan immigrants of Casa de Venezuela in Philadelphia, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.


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