The United States and Colombia agree to hold a regional conference on migration in 2023

BOGOTO (Reuters) – The United States and Colombia will hold a Latin American conference on migration in the first quarter of 2023 to adopt measures to ensure respect for the human rights of those trying to reach the North American country. The two announced on Friday. Governments.

While the United States is the destination for thousands of Latin Americans and people from other parts of the world looking for new life opportunities, Colombia has become a compulsory transit country for immigrants, who are trying to reach their destination through the dangerous Darien Forest. It continues its way through Central America.

The United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorcas, said that the immigration issue is a challenge for the hemisphere and not a challenge limited to his country or Colombia.

“This is a regional challenge that requires a regional solution,” Mayorcas said in a joint statement with Colombian Foreign Minister Alvaro Leyva after a meeting with President Gustavo Petro in Bogota.

“What we agreed on today is to bring everyone together and make sure everyone is involved in developing and implementing a solution to what is a collective challenge,” the official said. “We have to respect the human rights of individuals seeking asylum while at the same time we have to abide by the laws of our countries.”

Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, his administration has had to deal, both practically and politically, with record numbers of immigrants illegally crossing the US-Mexico border.

US border authorities detained 2.2 million migrants at the border in the 2022 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, though many of them involved people who repeatedly crossed the border.

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A US federal judge in November struck down a COVID-19-era border order known as Title 42, implemented in March 2020 under President Donald Trump, that allowed authorities to quickly turn away migrants caught crossing the border without giving them permission. . seek refuge.

The United States is preparing for the possibility of 9,000 to 14,000 immigrants per day trying to cross the border if Title 42 is lifted, according to Department of Homeland Security officials, nearly double the most recent daily record.

Leyva, who stressed that the meeting would include the interests of the United States, said that “the Latin American Conference on Migration will be held in the first quarter of next year.”

The Colombian official explained that the aim of the meeting is to set some rules of the game for the parties attending the conference to abide by. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Editing by Nelson Boccanegra)

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