He continued: “This is a shared responsibility approach where everyone in the Western Hemisphere affected by irregular migration in particular, and migration in general, i.e. countries of origin, countries of transit, and countries of destination, come together to take the joint responsibility for managing this in a safe, humane and orderly manner.”
The minister added that the United States is working with countries at the summit to try to come up with “specific actions” they can take to address the issue, and noted the new immigration document, dubbed the Los Angeles Declaration, that the United States and other countries are expected to sign this week. It is intended to show how countries in the region and around the world should share responsibility for receiving migrants.
The issue of immigration has been a top priority for the Biden administration, with Vice President Kamala Harris tasked with tackling the root causes of immigration to the southern border. As 23 heads of state gathered in California for the event, the matter was brought into sharp focus when a new caravan of migrants set off in southern Mexico on foot, timed to draw attention to the issue.
A group of about 2,300 people left the southern Mexican city of Tapachula on Monday, an official with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said, heading north. The official said the group consists mostly of Venezuelans, but it also includes immigrants from Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador and Honduras.
The authoritarian leaders of three of those nations – Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua – were not invited to the summit, leading to the boycott of Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries, a move that distracted from the broader goals of the event. But Blinken insisted in his CNN interview that those countries are represented at the top when asked about their absence.
“I can also tell you that Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are here. I saw them and met them. I met leaders and civil society activists from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua,” he said. “There will be people from (NGOs) from different parts of those societies who are, frankly, in my opinion, more representative of the Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan people than the regimes in place now.”
Blinken also dismissed questions about whether the US’s influence in the region is declining with China and Russia intensifying their presence there, saying: “I think on the contrary.. when you see the conclusions that come out of this, when do you see the concrete actions, commitments and principles that countries have signed across Hemisphere, and I think it reflects a common agenda and agenda that tries to respond to the needs of our peoples.”
Similarly, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, weighed in on that point on Wednesday, telling a US House of Representatives subcommittee that this week’s summit “is the beginning of a renewed effort with our Latin American partners.”
“I’ll tell you that in New York I hear every day from colleagues from the Caribbean and Latin America. They don’t want to partner with China. But many of them feel they have no choice but to partner with China because we haven’t been there for them,” adding that the United States needed to “Intensify our engagement with these countries.”
Department of Homeland Security to send immigrants to some American cities far from the US-Mexico border
While regional leaders in Los Angeles discuss ways to tackle the immigration issue, officials in Washington are also working on the matter, with the Department of Homeland Security planning to send immigrants to some US cities away from the US-Mexico border depending on NGOs. capacity, according to a Department of Homeland Security official.
The Biden administration is still grappling with the influx of immigrants at the southern US border despite keeping the Trump-era pandemic restrictions, known as Section 42, in place. As part of its ongoing planning to handle a large number of immigrants, the Department of Homeland Security has focused on processing immigrants released from custody more efficiently while they go through their immigration procedures.
A DHS spokesperson told CNN, “No decision has been made. Should a decision be made, DHS will continue to closely coordinate and support cities and NGOs to facilitate the movement of any individual encountered at the Southwest Frontier who is placed pending deportation proceedings.” Next steps in their immigration procedure.”
Currently, NGOs along the US-Mexico border are helping immigrants who have been released from government custody. Immigrants often travel to their final destination in the United States where they may have relatives and will continue their immigration procedures.
In a rebuke to Biden’s immigration policies, Texas Governor Greg Abbott began sending dozens of immigrants who had been arrested at the US-Mexico border and released from custody to Washington, DC. After arriving in Washington, immigrants similarly continued on to other destinations in the United States.
CNN’s Kylie Atwood and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
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