Joe Biden Pitches New Migrant Deal at Summit of the Americas Amid Record Surge in Illegal Crossings
Record numbers of people have been trying to enter the US at the Mexican border, prompting the Republicans, who hope to take over control of the US Senate and House of Representatives in the November midterms, to pillory Democratic POTUS Joe Biden for reversing the restrictive immigration policies of his Republican predecessor Donald Trump.
Joe Biden teased a new migration deal with neighbouring countries to the south of the US on Thursday. He hinted at a plan, to be unveiled on Friday, as leaders of the countries of origin of illegal immigrants - Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras - snubbed
the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, held from 6-10 June.
“Each one of our countries have been impacted by unprecedented migration. And I believe it’s our shared responsibility to meet this challenge. And I emphasise shared. Tomorrow, a number of us will join in announcing the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection”, Joe Biden said at an afternoon summit session.
During the opening speech at the Summit
on 9 June, Biden touted a “transformative new approach” to address migration in the region, offering solutions to “embrace stability, to increase opportunities for safe and orderly migration, to crack down on criminals and human traffickers who prey on desperate people and coordinate specific concrete actions to secure our borders and resolve the shared challenges”.
According to a draft document cited by Reuters, the pact, dubbed the "Los Angeles Declaration", aims to generate incentives for countries taking in large numbers of migrants. Furthermore, it allegedly presupposes that responsibility for absorbing asylum seekers be spread further across the region, with banks and donors reviewing instruments to help the migrant-hosting countries.
The final version of the agreement, set to be unveiled by Biden together with visiting leaders on Friday, also encompasses boosting cooperation on such issues as regional law enforcement, information-sharing, visa regimes, and improving temporary job opportunities for migrants, according to the outlet.
Earlier, elements of the migrant pact were teased by White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
“We’ll have announcements related to labour pathways as part of the Los Angeles Declaration and, actually, an interesting and very innovative new program between our Department of Agriculture and the United Farmworkers that is designed to ensure that those labour pathways meet the highest labour standards and are not used for abuse or for a race to the bottom”, Sullivan said on Wednesday on Air Force One.
The plan to stem illegal migration
at the US-Mexico border comes after the administration of President Joe Biden scrapped Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua from the list of invitees to the ninth Summit of the Americas.
This prompted Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to announce he would skip
the summit, along with several other leaders of Latin American countries, such as Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
The absence of the leaders of Mexico as well as the so-called Northern Triangle region - Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador - raised doubts about how effectively the proposed plans could be implemented.
So far, there have been more than 1.2 million US Border Patrol encounters with migrants in fiscal 2022. Of these, about 62% are from Mexico or one of the three Northern Triangle countries of Central America.
Throughout the last fiscal year, which ended in September, there were nearly 1.7 million such suspected illegal border-crossers.
Ever since Democrat Joe Biden took office, Republicans have faulted him for the border crisis, particularly pointing out his abandonment of hardline Trump-era border enforcement tactics.
The GOP hopes to capitalise
on Biden’s other failings at home, such as surging inflation and the debate over gun control
after more mass shootings, to take control of the US Senate and House of Representatives in the November midterm elections.