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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As of December, Colombia has given two-year stay permits to nearly 435,000 Venezuelans who were in the country illegally. One of the largest such efforts in recent years, Colombia's temporary protection program will also grant Venezuelan migrants the right to work and access to education and health care.

The big picture: Unlike many countries affected by the global migration crisis, Latin American countries have absorbed new arrivals mostly without hostility. Their measured response amounts to an experiment, based on the practical calculation that well-managed migration can lead to positive outcomes for both the displaced and the host country's economy.

Background: Beset by political conflict and 1000% inflation, Venezuela has seen more than 3 million of its people — roughly a tenth of the population — leave their homes in recent years, in one of the largest and fastest migrations anywhere in the world.

Where it stands: Most of those displaced have settled in neighboring countries, which have tried to find ways of legally integrating the new arrivals. Despite dealing with the aftermath of an armed conflict that displaced 6–7 million of its own people, Colombia has accepted more than a million Venezuelans, the most of any country.

  • The Colombian government believes the country will be better off if Venezuelan migrants have legal status and can become productive and integrated members of their new communities.
  • Through a series of regularization programs, Colombia has set out to ensure that as many migrants as possible receive legal documents granting them rights to work, attend school, and use public hospitals.
  • Venezuela extended the same courtesy to hundreds of thousands who fled Colombia's civil war.

Yes, but: Colombia’s reaction is humane and responsible, but it also carries risks. Like other countries in the region, Colombia already faces overcrowded classrooms and hospitals, so adding new arrivals to the mix has prompted some grumbling. But it's betting those short-term pains will lead to long-term economic gains.

The bottom line: If Colombia — and other countries in Latin America — can successfully incorporate millions of Venezuelan migrants by actively embracing, rather than resisting, the challenge, it could prove a lesson for other countries around the world.

Andrew Selee is president of the Migration Policy Institute.

Go deeper

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 5 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at a speech this week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. needs to focus on increasing its productive potential, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told world leaders Friday, calling for what she terms "modern supply side economics."

Why it matters: She co-opted a phrase traditionally used by political conservatives to describe low-tax and deregulatory policies — and framed the Biden administration's initiatives as the best path forward to achieve greater national prosperity.