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Press Release // Immigration and Asylum

President Biden to Sign Los Angeles Declaration on Migration at Summit of the Americas

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LIRS Staff

June 10, 2022

Contact: Tim Young | | 443-257-6310

WASHINGTON D.C. – President Biden is set to sign the Los Angeles Declaration today, a regional partnership to address historic migration flows in the Western Hemisphere. The agreement is centered on the principle of responsibility sharing and economic support for countries that have been most impacted by refugee and migration flows, with a view towards stability and assistance for communities, legal pathways, humane border management, and coordinated emergency response.

Under the declaration, governments will commit to collectively expand temporary worker programs to address labor shortages while reducing irregular migration. It will also open, expand, and reinforce other legal channels for migration — including refugee resettlement and family reunification. Finally, the declaration aims to surge support for countries that are hosting large refugee and migrant populations, and root out human smuggling networks that prey on the most vulnerable in the region.

The following is a statement by Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service:

“We commend the Biden administration for mobilizing the Western Hemisphere toward meaningful, actionable solutions for those seeking safety. This declaration represents a cooperative regional framework far removed from the deterrence-only tactics of the prior administration. Additional U.S. commitment to refugee resettlement and the resumption of family reunification programs for Haitians and Cubans are particularly encouraging developments.

With a central focus on responsibility sharing, however, the U.S. must recognize and address its own shortcomings in upholding its humanitarian and legal obligations. Title 42 remains devastatingly in effect, restricting thousands from exercising their legal right to seek asylum in the U.S. The refugee admissions program lags woefully behind the administration’s commitments – with only 12,641 resettled towards a target of 125,000 this fiscal year ending in September. And despite President Biden’s campaign promise to end the use of private immigration detention, asylum seekers awaiting court hearings are still subjected to inhumane conditions as giant prison profiteers rake in billions of taxpayer dollars.

Our nation’s strength draws from the ingenuity and resilience of every generation of immigrants that comes to our shores, whether to seek safety or opportunity. For the sake of our economy, our hemisphere, and our standing as the world’s humanitarian leader, the Biden administration must use every tool at its disposal to reform a deeply dysfunctional immigration system that has hindered America from realizing its full potential. Only through our nation’s own credibility and example can we mobilize a truly effective international response.”

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