Orozco: “Nicaragua is responsible for at least 10 percent of all migration that has arrived into the Mexico-US border”

Photo of Manuel Orozco and All Things Considered Graphic All Things Considered

On January 4, 2024, director of the Inter-American Dialogue's Migration, Remittances, and Development program, Manuel Orozco, sat down with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly on "All Things Considered" to discuss the recent weaponization of migration by the Ortega-Murillo regime. The two discussed the recent trend within the context of US elections in November 2024 in which immigration is a highly debated issue.

Comments from Orozco:

KELLY: Explain the changes, if you would, that President Ortega has made to his country's visa requirements. When did this begin?

OROZCO: The first time he started making these changes was during the elimination of visa restrictions for Cubans in November 2021. From that point on, the government started to release a number of regulations for other countries, Haiti included, as well as other Latin American countries and eventually to several Asian and African nations, and that includes Indians, Uzbekistanis, people from Mauritania and Senegal.

KELLY: OK, so how does President Ortega explain the changes to his country's visa rules and allowing people to do this? Why does he say it's a good idea?

OROZCO: Well, he has the motive, the opportunity and the means. The motive is that Ortega has had, historically, a deep hatred of the United States. He finds it to be an evil empire that needs to be dealt with. And the opportunity was the huge migration crisis that has been taking place from predominantly fragile states. And the means was to utilize the airport for the passing of passengers from differing nationalities. So his justification has been both an ideological one but also an opportunistic - because there is money to be made on each flight that arrives and the fees that they charge to the airlines and the airport taxes that they charge to every individual that comes into the country.

Listen to the full interview at NPR

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