HIAS Welcomes Mexico’s Initiative to Address Regional Displacement Challenges

HIAS is encouraged by the recent announcement that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico will meet with representatives of 11 governments from the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region regarding a regional migration plan on October 22nd in Palenque, Mexico. López Obrador’s intention is to meet with U.S. President Biden in November to present the outcomes.

“HIAS firmly believes this marks a pivotal step in addressing the complex challenges posed by displacement in the Western Hemisphere,” said Cristina Garcia, HIAS’ senior vice president for the LAC region. “The collective commitment of these regional leaders signifies a crucial turning point, propelling a swifter and more comprehensive realization of the Los Angeles Declaration adopted last year. It underscores the region’s dedication to tackle immediate humanitarian needs as well as long-term issues and the root causes of displacement.”

HIAS offers the following practical recommendations for governments participating in the upcoming meetings:

  • Invest in Economic Development: Increase development assistance to address the root causes of displacement in countries of origin, such as poverty, inequality, and lack of economic opportunities or livelihoods.
  • Strengthen Asylum Systems: Improve and reinforce asylum processes and capacities to ensure that individuals fleeing persecution have access to humane protection.
  • Support Regional Cooperation: Strengthen collaboration among countries through existing coordination mechanisms to support a human rights-based approach to migration and address challenges collectively, in keeping with the Los Angeles Declaration.
  • Increase Humanitarian Aid: Allocate more funding for humanitarian assistance to support vulnerable refugees and migrants, including LGBTQ+ individuals, women and girls, survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), and unaccompanied and separated children, especially at transit points, with shelter, WASH, protection, and other essential services.
  • Expand Legal Pathways: Grant more nationalities access to legal protection pathways such as work visas and family reunification programs to reduce the reliance on irregular migration routes, and increase resettlement quotas.
  • Prevent Deaths and Disappearances: Improve collaboration among governments to implement measures that prevent refugee and migrant deaths and disappearances during their journey, including search and rescue operations and information campaigns.
  • Promote Integration: Introduce measures to encourage host countries to implement inclusive integration programs that help refugees and migrants become self-reliant and contribute to their new communities.

As a Jewish organization committed to the protection and well-being of refugees, asylum seekers, and other forcibly displaced people across 11 countries in the LAC region along with the U.S., HIAS stands ready to collaborate with governments and other stakeholders to ensure that this proposal benefits both displaced people and those hosting them.

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