The extraordinarily liberal discourses on immigration and migrants’ rights that South American governments have embarked on since 2000, led to progressive policy initiatives at the national and regional level. In interregional comparison, these developments stand in contrast to recent debates on freedom of movement and refugee flows in the EU in the context of the increase of asylum applications since 2015, and the 2016 Brexit referendum in the UK. Within the region, they mark an important turning point from a historical perspective. This chapter offers an overview of recent developments in migration governance in South America at both the regional and national level. Rather surprisingly, very few studies have thus far touched on the South American experience. Apart from addressing this geographic gap in the literature, we will further suggest that an ideational approach is necessary to understand migration policy change on both the domestic and regional level. The conclusion highlights room for further research.
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