Addressing the challenge of mass migration in the Western Hemisphere remains a priority for the United States, declared Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Ministerial Conference on Migration and Protection in Panama.
“We have a strong interest in protecting the security of our borders in a safe, orderly, and humane way,” he said. “We care about the well-being of millions of people across the hemisphere who have made the desperate decision to leave their homes and communities in search of a better life. The journeys are often dangerous. Migrants are vulnerable to exploitation of all kinds. Many are children, and their fates, their futures, are highly uncertain. We have a . . .shared responsibility, to look out for them.”
The United States is focused on the underlying issues that are pushing so many people to become migrants in the first place, including poverty, a lack of economic opportunity, corruption, political upheaval, and insecurity – all of which has been made worse by the climate crisis and COVID-19.
The United States is committed to working with other nations to take on migrant smuggling networks, improve humane and effective border management, counter misinformation, and develop legal pathways for immigrants and refugees seeking a safe place to call home.
“In particular,” said Secretary Blinken, “we have to work together to help stabilize and strengthen communities that are hosting large populations of migrants. We have to help them get the tools that they need to rebuild their lives, including access to jobs and education. And we have to make sure that our support directly benefits the communities themselves with increased resources for public health and safety, social services, better infrastructure, opportunity for everyone.”
This is a job for governments of the region but also for NGOs, the private sector, multilateral development and financial institutions, and regional and global public health and climate agencies. The United States will help bring together these different groups and leverage all of their contributions to this challenge.
There are more people around the world on the move, displaced from their homes, than at any time since the Second World War, some 95 million people, said Secretary Blinken. “This is a challenge that we have to stand together to meet, work together to meet, [and] join together to meet.”