Western leaders will commit to tighter borders and improved asylum

Summit of the Americas leaders on Friday will sign an agreement pledging to tighten borders and improve their asylum systems in an attempt to slow the unprecedented pace of illegal immigration across the hemisphere.

The agreement, to be signed on Friday in Los Angeles, is the biggest concrete achievement of President Biden, who is hosting the summit.

The US will agree to expand access to its guest worker programs to other countries in the hemisphere to alleviate some of the migration push, Biden will pledge to welcome more refugees, and US taxpayers will also disburse assistance to other countries that are willing to do more to track and keep refugees within their confines instead of seeing them running north to the US

Biden will also commit to what officials have called an “unprecedented-scale campaign” to target the smuggling rings that funnel people north.

Other nations that sign the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection will agree to do more to interdict those who enter their countries, track them and deport them if they do not qualify for protection or status in those other countries.

“Many countries in the region are already absorbing millions of immigrants, migrants and refugees, and it is time for us to work together to meet this challenge,” a senior official said in an interview with reporters ahead of the announcement.

The official said other countries must also detail commitments to support “middle-income” nations that are suffering the impact of major migration changes. Countries like Panama and Costa Rica have large refugee populations at the moment, the official said.

The aim is to break the chain of illegal economic migration or family reunification that has seen record numbers of people leave their countries and travel through Central America and Mexico to reach the US.

Leaders of key countries along the migration route are absent from the summit. The presidents of Mexico, Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras stayed at home.

US officials said they believe some of these countries will support the declaration’s principles.

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