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Biden touts ‘transformative approach’ on migration at Americas summit

President Joe Biden touted a “transformative approach” to addressing migration at the Summit of the Americas Thursday, June 9.

During the summit’s opening speech, Biden spoke of a “shared responsibility” in the region to tackle the problem.

“Each of our countries has been affected by unprecedented migration, and I believe it is our shared responsibility to meet this challenge. I insist on sharing,” he said.

Biden announced at the summit that a number of nations would join the United States in announcing a Los Angeles Declaration on migration and protection.

According to a draft document seen by Reuters and dated June 6 and 7, it included commitments to work on calling on banks to review their financial instruments for migrant-hosting countries, as well as improving access migrants to public and private services.

It also lists commitments by countries in the Western Hemisphere to work together to strengthen regional law enforcement cooperation, information sharing and visa regimes, while trying to strengthen and expand temporary work opportunities.

The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether the draft was final.

A government official from a country participating in the US-hosted summit said the migration pledges and all other declarations were endorsed by participating countries on Wednesday (June 8).

US President Joe Biden, a Democrat, took office in January 2021 pledging to reverse many of the sweeping immigration policies of his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump. But it has struggled to contain a record number of border crossings.

Immigration was on the agenda at the Los Angeles summit. However, the absence of leaders from Mexico and other countries that send many migrants north raised questions about what progress would be made on this.

Washington chose to exclude Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the summit, prompting some leaders to stay away.

In recent months, the Biden administration has sought to frame migration as a challenge for all of the Americas, calling on other countries to strengthen migrant protection systems and expand their access to legal channels.

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