Leaders from across the Western Hemisphere have endorsed a new and transformative approach to migration, called the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection. On June 10, the final day of U.S.-hosted Summit for the Americas, twenty nations committed to supporting measures that recognize the key role of shared cooperation and responsibility in dealing with the unprecedented flow of migrants and refugees in the region.
The Los Angeles Declaration is built around four core pillars, said President Joe Biden: “First, stability and assistance: making sure the communities that are welcoming refugees can afford to care for them, to educate them in their education, medical care, shelter, and job opportunities. Second, increasing pathways for legal migration throughout the region as well as protections for refugees. Third, working together to implement more humane and coordinated border management systems. And finally, making sure we are working together to respond to emergencies.”
President Biden noted that unlawful migration is dangerous and unacceptable. It must be dealt with in ways that secure borders but also support people. The Los Angeles Declaration provides a framework to address both the needs of vulnerable migrants and the needs of countries hosting them. It includes a pledge by its supporters to collectively expand temporary worker programs to address labor shortages, while reducing irregular migration, as well as to open and expand other legal channels for migration.
In addition, the signatories to the Declaration committed to support countries, like Colombia and Costa Rica, that are hosting large refugee and irregular migrant populations, and to combat and root out human smuggling networks that prey on the most vulnerable in the region. To those who exploit desperate migrants for profit, President Biden warned, “We are coming after you.”
The United States is also providing additional economic support to its partners in the region so they will be more able to welcome refugees and migrants. This includes more than $300 million in new funding for humanitarian assistance, and millions more, including through the World Bank, to support countries and communities that are carrying the greatest responsibility for migrants.
“This is just a start,” President Biden said of the Los Angeles Declaration. “Much work remains.” He expressed the hope that other countries in the region would join the Declaration, which, in his words, constitutes an “historic new vision for our region.”