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WRC Responds to Summit of the Americas and Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection

Los Angeles, CA — In a parallel event at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles — a convening of government leaders to discuss the most pressing challenges facing the region — the U.S. and governments from around the Americas today signed the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection.

In response, Savi Arvey, policy advisor for the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, issued the following statement:

“In light of changing migration trends over the past decade, a hemispheric-wide approach to migration and international protection is an important step forward. If meaningfully implemented, the Declaration provides a crucial opportunity for countries across the region to come together to strengthen protection-based approaches to migration.

“We are encouraged to see the Declaration include a commitment to the rights of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, access to international protection, and an emphasis of family reunification, but remain concerned about the inclusion of harmful deterrence strategies such as visa regimes, which can lead individuals to take more remote and dangerous routes to access safety and request asylum.

“We welcome announcements by governments such as Belize and Ecuador over the past week to offer tens of thousands of migrants access to regular status, which will make it easier to work, send their children to school, and access other basic rights; and Mexico’s announcement to integrate more refugees into communities.

“Moving forward from the Summit, we urge all governments in the region to take bold, concrete action to ensure and strengthen international protection. Such measures must include restoring asylum to access at the U.S. border, expanded access to refugee status and complementary protection pathways, as well as strengthening asylum systems throughout the region.

“Implementation of the Declaration’s rights-respecting commitments must include consultation with a diverse group of stakeholders — including service providers, migrants’ rights organizations, and impacted communities — to ensure next steps are grounded in the needs and rights of people on the move.”