- BBC News World
With the goal of curbing irregular immigration in the Americas, 20 countries signed the Los Angeles Declaration on Immigration and Protection Friday during the Ninth Summit of the Americas.
The agreement concluded the meeting in the United States, which was marked by the absence of the heads of several Latin American countries, who did not attend after Washington decided not to invite Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela, considering them “anti-democratic governments.”
USA PresidentJoe BidenThe activity culminated in a speech in which he declared that “illegal immigration is unacceptable and we will secure our borders.”
The president has come under fire for continuing to automatically deport most illegal immigrants arriving at his country’s southern border.
While he was giving his speech, a caravan of 15,000 people, one of the largest in recent years, was bound for the United States from southern Mexico.
Reuters reported that the United States promised to increase its share of refugees from the Americas to 20,000 by 2023 and 2024, with special priority given to those from Haiti, while other countries promised to facilitate legal channels to receive immigrants.
Measures include the United States and Canada hiring more temporary workers and providing pathways for people from poorer countries to work in richer ones.
The Biden administration, facing a record influx of illegal immigrants at its southern border, has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to help Venezuelan immigrants in the region.
He noted that it would renew the processing of family visas for Cubans and Haitians and facilitate the hiring of Central American workers.
“We are changing our approach to managing immigration in the Americas,” Biden said. “Each of us signs pledges that recognize the challenges we all share.”
Unless the statement is mentioned
The declaration includes specific commitments from countries such as Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Belize and Ecuador. However, nothing is mentioned of Brazil, the most populous country in Latin America.
An official told Reuters that the White House announcement did not include any US offer to grant more work visas to Mexicans, which will be part of the discussions when President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador visits Biden next month.
The White House said Spain, which attended as an observer, pledged to “double the number of work visas” for Honduras in Madrid’s “circular immigration programmes”. TAP in Madrid has only 250 Hondurans.
Biden’s message was overshadowed by a partial boycott by leaders, including the president of Mexico, in protest of Washington’s exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Biden noted that 6.1 million people have left Venezuela in recent years.
At the summit opening Thursday, the leaders of Argentina and young Belize brought Biden face to face over the guest list, highlighting the challenge the global superpower faces in restoring influence among its poorer neighbors.
Chile, the Bahamas, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda joined the criticism on Friday, although Biden was not present. “We cannot have exceptions,” said Chile’s leftist President Gabriel Borek from the summit podium.
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