President Joe Biden and the leaders of Latin American countries, on Friday, signed a new agreement called the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection during the Summit of the Americas.
Details of the agreement: The U.S. government committed to permit 20,000 refugees from Latin America entry during the next two years — an effort the Biden administration describes as a threefold increase.
Biden also vowed to increase the number of seasonal worker visas from Central America and Haiti by 11,500.
The increase represents just a small number of migrants who seek entry through the southwest border — Border Patrol had more than 1.6 million encounters with migrants in fiscal year 2021. Still, the higher intake differs significantly from the Trump administration’s approach, which for four years decreased the number of refugees and asylum seekers who could access protection.
A collaborative approach: At the final day of the Summit of the Americas, where the agreement was signed, Biden said the agreement commits Latin American countries and the U.S. to take more responsibility for people who have been displaced by dangerous conditions.
Other countries also made promises to increase their intake of refugees and workers — Mexico committed to take 20,000 more temporary workers and begin a program targeted at 20,000 Guatemalans in search of work. Canada vowed to take in 4,000 refugees from the Americas by 2028. Spain, Costa Rica and Colombia also made commitments. All together, 20 countries signed the agreement, including Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Hondura, whose leaders boycotted the summit.
Advocates say the plan is significant, but it would take years to be realized, especially because the Trump administration’s far-reaching immigration changes will take a long time to reverse.
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