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U.S. summit plan eyes better job and legal conditions for migrants


FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks while hosting a dinner at the Getty Villa for leaders and their spouses at the Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 9, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque     

By Daina Beth Solomon

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) — Signatories to a declaration at the U.S.-hosted Summit of the Americas on Friday will pledge to expand temporary work programs for migrants and improve their legal options as the region works to manage record levels of migration, U.S. officials said.

The Biden administration has sought to portray migration as a challenge for all governments in the Americas, calling on them to strengthen the rights of migrants.

«We will … expect that all countries do their part,» a senior U.S. official told reporters late on Thursday, adding that the United States and other countries would set out «concrete commitments.»

The United States wants the measures to help ease labor shortages while also reducing illegal migration, the official added. Leaders at the summit in Los Angeles, were slated to adopt the declaration in a ceremony on Friday.

A draft reviewed by Reuters shows countries also agreed to boost access to public and private services for migrants, improve law enforcement, and urge financial institutions to review support for countries with migrant populations.

However, the absence at the summit of leaders from Mexico and other countries that send many migrants north has raised questions about how effective the declaration will be. The Biden administration has rejected that suggestion.

Among the options for legal migration outlined in the migrant declaration are taking in refugees and unifying families, the U.S. official said.

Biden is asking other governments to strengthen their asylum systems and remove people who do not qualify, and the administration will increase support to countries to help stem «secondary flows» of people heading to the U.S. southern border.

«We will continue to provide support to countries that are really making a strong effort to build their asylum capacity,» the official said.

Washington will also unveil programs to help people in Haiti given the worsening security and humanitarian situation in the Caribbean nation, the official added.

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