The United States and Latin American countries will pledge to welcome more migrants

LOS ANGELES — The United States and Latin American countries plan to issue a joint statement Friday at the Summit of the Americas, commi...


LOS ANGELES — The United States and Latin American countries plan to issue a joint statement Friday at the Summit of the Americas, committing nations in the region to welcome migrants and provide them with the means to obtain humanitarian protection and to earn a living, according to US officials who spoke publicly about the plans on Thursday.

The American public and politicians have focused for decades on the massive influx of migrants crossing the southern border of the United States, but ever-increasing numbers of migrants are pouring into countries in the Western Hemisphere.

“What we see now is categorically distinct; from the southern tip of Chile to Canada, countries are impacted by migration,” said Clayton Alderman, director of regional migration and protection at the National Security Council, in an interview after a panel in Los Angeles held alongside the official summit. He added that “everyone is feeling this in a way that we haven’t experienced before.”

Alderman and others have described the planned directive as the “Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection,” and it is expected to include Spain and Canada, in addition to Latin American countries.

Even though Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador did not attend the summit, US officials expressed confidence that Mexico – a key transit country for migrants – would be a signatory.

It will have four pillars: stabilization and assistance to the host countries of migrants; new legal pathways for foreign workers; a common approach to border protection, including the fight against smuggling networks; and a coordinated response to historical flows across the border.

Anne Knapke, a senior US Department of Agriculture official, said the declaration would expand work programs to bring Central Americans to the United States as guest workers. Other countries, including Spain, are expected to make similar commitments.

About six million displaced Venezuelans have fled economic and political turmoil in their home country over the past five years, to Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, among other countries. Central Americans facing gang violence and climate change have sought a fresh start in Mexico as well as the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans targeted by the crackdown on dissent have moved to Costa Rica, where around 10% of the population are refugees.

“It looks very different if you look at migration across the hemisphere rather than just sticking to the US-Mexico border, which is what the US has been trying to do for the past 30 years,” said Dan Restrepo, principal researcher at the Centre. for American Progress who was an adviser to President Barack Obama on Latin America.

“One of the important things at the Summit of the Americas this week is that it moves from seeing migration as something to be controlled at borders to something to be managed across the hemisphere,” he said.

President Biden announced US measures on Wednesday to help other nations. They include training health professionals to improve health care in the Western Hemisphere, increase food exports, and attract more private investment.

“These challenges affect us all,” Biden said in his opening remarks. “All of our countries have a responsibility to step up and ease the pressure that people are feeling today.”

Some 7,000 to 8,000 people are encountered by US Border Patrol officers every day after crossing the US southern border. They include a record number of Cubans, where economic hardship has caused food shortages. Haitians fleeing anarchy and lack of opportunity in their home country also arrived by land and sea.

But other Latin American countries are also experiencing a new wave of migration and are looking for answers.

Colombia offers protected status and work permits to nearly two million Venezuelans. Lucas Gomez, the presidential envoy on migration to Colombia, said it was time to discuss policies aimed at absorbing migrants in host countries.

Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso told a summit event on migration that there must be a “recognition of a reality” that people are on the move and that “inclusive policies” must be promoted to ensure that they find a safe haven and can thrive outside their homeland.

“As a poor country, we are opening our doors,” he said, referring to the more than 500,000 Venezuelans living in Ecuador, a country of 18.1 million.

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Newsrust - US Top News: The United States and Latin American countries will pledge to welcome more migrants
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