The Biden administration will roll out additional measures during a summit of North American leaders on Tuesday in a desperate effort to prevent migrants from traveling. to the southern border of the United States.
The latest list of efforts comes in Unprecedented movement time in the Western Hemisphere and is designed to reduce border crossings while facilitating access to legal immigration programs to the United States, Mexico and Canada, according to a senior administration official.
But the success of these measures depends on migrants seeing these options as viable, especially when fleeing urgently from deteriorating conditions in their countries of origin.
during his presidency, Joe Biden has faced changing immigration patterns that pose unique challenges to management and have led to the depletion of federal and local resources. The issue, in turn, became a political weakness for the administration—which drew heavy criticism from both Republicans and Democrats—and was a major point of discussion with partners in the South, primarily Mexico.
In the run-up to Tuesday’s summit, administration officials stressed the need for a regional response that shares responsibility for stemming the flow of migration between hemispheric partners. Tuesday’s announcement is a reflection of that.
The Biden administration is expected to announce a virtual platform that will serve as a one-stop-shop for immigrants to find information about legal pathways they may qualify for — whether in the United States, Mexico or Canada — and open a new resource center in southern Mexico, the senior administration official said.
“The United States, Mexico and Canada will all be committed to enabling immigrants to access our legal pathways through a single platform,” the senior administration official told CNN.
The virtual portal is in part an acknowledgment of the challenges immigrants face trying to determine legal pathways to coming to the United States and then navigating the difficult and often arduous process of doing so. Instead, people often look to smugglers, who spread misinformation about US policies, to head north — an obstacle for the Biden administration as it tries to dissuade migrants from taking that route.
“This is an experiment,” said the senior administration official, citing programs launched recently for some nationalities seeking to come to the United States.
The portal is being built and is expected to meet in the next several months.
“We’re always in competition with smugglers, so we think ease of access, easy-to-use virtual platforms is really important…but then centers where people can go and they know they can trust the people who are there and get accurate information and even get referred based on their intakes.” and interviews.”
As part of this effort, the United States is also working with Mexico to open brick-and-mortar centers where immigrants can obtain information on how to apply to immigrate to the United States, mirroring the Migrant Resource Center launched in Guatemala. A new hub will be set up in Tapachula, a city in southern Mexico through which thousands of migrants pass on their way to the US-Mexico border.
“We know it’s a transit site, so the center can help people stay put and move on from there,” said the senior administration official.
The ad raises questions among immigration advocates, who say its effectiveness is currently simply unknown.
“It’s a huge, huge open question,” said one immigration advocate, noting that while such an online platform might be useful to thousands of asylum seekers, it could also prove “inaccessible” to many.
The portal is still under construction and may not be revealed for several months yet, so details are still up in the air. One big factor, experts say, is how the administration will determine whether a person is ineligible to seek asylum in the United States.
The National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby, said Monday that immigration will be a “key topic of discussion” during this week’s summit.
“There’s no question that immigration is going to be a major issue of discussion here over the next 24 or 36 hours. That’s obviously on everyone’s mind here in the hemisphere,” Kirby told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Monday, referring to Mexico’s recent commitment. By accepting thousands of non-Mexican immigrants who cross the border illegally and do not apply to come to the United States through new programs.
Kirby said the leaders will also discuss the root causes of migration, noting Vice President Kamala Harris’ work on the issue while noting that the topic will be a major topic of conversation throughout the trip.
Tuesday’s summit builds on last year’s meeting in Los Angeles, where countries of the Western Hemisphere committed themselves to the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection. The summit was a point of contention between the United States and Mexico when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ignored the meeting due to disagreements over who was invited. Mexican officials still attended the summit.
The North American Leaders Summit marks the six-year anniversary of this declaration.
“We have a very ambitious agenda and that’s why the United States had a lot of commitments on the table at the beginning of this and we continue to push other countries,” said the senior administration official, stressing that the challenge will not be resolved overnight.
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