On Monday, September 26, 2022, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall welcomed representatives from countries in the Western Hemisphere to the White House to kick off the process of implementing the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection. The Declaration was announced by President Biden and fellow heads of state from across the hemisphere at the Summit of the Americas in June.
Representatives of the Argentine Republic, the Federative Republic of Brazil, Canada, the Republic of Chile, the Republic of Colombia, the Republic of Costa Rica, the Republic of Ecuador, the Republic of El Salvador, Republic of Guatemala, Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Republic of Haiti, Republic of Honduras, Jamaica, United Mexican States, Republic of Panama, Republic of Paraguay, Republic of Peru and the Eastern Republic of Uruguay joined senior U.S. government officials in reaffirming their respective government commitments to the principles of the Los Angeles Declaration and launching a shared implementation plan to advance a regional response to migration management.
During their remarks, Mr. Sullivan and Dr. Sherwood-Randall reiterated that irregular migration and forced displacement in the Western Hemisphere has changed dramatically from decades past – requiring new coordinated regional solutions to address a growing challenge. . Therefore, supporting governments reaffirmed their commitment to deepen cooperation and align policies to reduce irregular migration.
U.S. government officials also highlighted progress the Biden-Harris administration has made on its Los Angeles Declaration commitments, including disrupting human trafficking networks, increasing migration opportunities labor force, expanding the resettlement of refugees from the region and strengthening support to countries hosting large migrant populations.
The United States and other Los Angeles Declaration endorsing nations will continue to coordinate closely in this effort at the October 6 meeting of Los Angeles Declaration foreign ministers in Lima, Peru.
Following the launch of the Los Angeles Declaration, countries committed to:
- A shared implementation plan to meet the commitments and principles of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection.
- Countries lead joint action plans in the thematic areas of the Los Angeles Declaration. These include promoting stability and assistance to displaced populations, legal pathways as an alternative to irregular migration, and humane border management.
- Reconvene at Foreign Minister level to ensure continued progress.
- Announce additional achievements and new lines of effort at the October 6 Foreign Ministers meeting in Lima, Peru.
The United States continues to meet the commitments made under the Los Angeles Declaration in June 2022:
- Last week, the State Department announced $376 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the regional crisis in Venezuela.
- The United States roughly doubled the number of seasonal work visas for northern Central America this year and significantly expanded the program for Mexican nationals.
- The United States has relaunched Cuba’s Family Reunification Parole Program (CFRP) and is increasing staff to expedite the processing of cases.
- The Department of State announced that beginning in early 2023, the U.S. Embassy in Havana will resume full processing of immigrant visas for the first time since 2017, which will offer Cubans seeking to come to the United States an alternative to irregular migration.
- The United States has made more than 5,000 arrests in five months as part of a concerted law enforcement campaign to crack down on multibillion-dollar smuggling rings that prey on vulnerable migrants.
- The United States has significantly expanded the resettlement of refugees from the region, including for Haitian, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan nationals.
Other countries in the region have also mobilized to quickly meet the commitments made under the Los Angeles Declaration:
- Mexico models a commitment to all the pillars of the Los Angeles Declaration, providing access to asylum, expanding labor programs, while humanely managing its borders. Going forward, we are actively considering new ways to expand cooperation with Mexico to target smugglers and reduce irregular migration to our shared border.
- Ecuador successfully launched a regularization program for Venezuelans in the country, providing an opportunity for stability and integration to more than 500,000 displaced Venezuelans.
- Belize successfully launched a regularization program for Central American and Caribbean migrants and refugees present in the country who had irregular migration status.
- Guatemalan authorities have dismantled a deadly transnational human trafficking organization. This major disruption is the result of more than a year of bilateral law enforcement cooperation between our two countries.
- Canada recently announced three new projects to strengthen support for displaced people and their host countries, including addressing the protection needs of people in vulnerable situations in Panama and Costa Rica, building the capacity of governments and Western Hemisphere civil society organizations to develop and implement effective and humane migration policies, and strengthening the efforts of the UN Refugee Agency to support asylum capacity development in Panama.