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Women’s Refugee Commission Cites Violations of Rights at the Border, Urges Biden to Uphold Commitments of L.A. Declaration

Washington, D.C. — This week, U.S. President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador met in Mexico City for the 10th North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS) to discuss the most central issues to the bilateral relationship: security, trade, climate, and migration.

This trilateral meeting comes six months after the June 2022 Summit of the Americas hosted by the Biden administration in Los Angeles, California. At the Summit, 21 governments from across the hemisphere adopted the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, committing to work together to promote safe, orderly, and humane migration in the region.

The meeting comes on the heels of President Biden’s first trip to the U.S. border with Mexico since becoming president.

Ahead of NALS, Savitri Arvey, senior policy advisor for the Women’s Refugee Commission’s (WRC) Migrant Rights and Justice program, issued the following statement:

“This week’s North American Leaders’ Summit offered an important opportunity for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to make real progress on the implementation of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, including ensuring access to international protection, integration, and the creation of alternative migration pathways.

“However, just last week, the U.S. announced that it will expand its use of Title 42 to expel new nationalities from the region to Mexico without the ability to seek protection in the U.S. The U.S. also announced its intention to propose a transit ban, demonstrating that, instead of leading our neighbors in the hemisphere by implementing comprehensive solutions, the Biden administration is turning its back on the rights-respecting commitments made in the Los Angeles Declaration.

“While the three leaders have committed at NALS to share best practices to ensure prompt, efficient, and fair asylum processing systems, we are gravely concerned that the very right to access asylum is not being upheld in the region. We’ve seen pushbacks and expulsions at borders and, in recent trips to Mexico, we’ve documented the continued human rights abuses suffered by women, LGBTQI+ individuals, and families expelled from the U.S. under Title 42.

“Following NALS, we urge the three leaders to come together to ensure that the right to request to asylum—as enshrined in international and U.S. law—is respected across the region. Asylum should be accessible no matter your nationality, mode of entry, financial resources, U.S. contacts, or documentation.

“The Women’s Refugee Commission is pleased to see the U.S., Mexican, and Canadian governments commit to countering xenophobia and discrimination of migrants and refugees to support their meaningful inclusion. It remains vital for the three administrations to work closely with communities across North America and nonprofit organizations on the front lines to create a truly welcoming region for newcomers.”


Learn more about WRC’s work on rights and justice.