President Biden declared Friday as he and 19 of the region’s leaders and their representatives signed a much-anticipated pact to expand legal pathways for migrants and refugees and provide new funding to assist countries in hosting them.
“Each of us is signing up to commitments that recognizes the challenges we all share, and the responsibility that impacts on all of our nations,” Biden said as he joined a group of regional leaders to sign the so-called Los Angeles Declaration.
The signatories to the agreement, announced on the last day of the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, included Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — four countries whose commitments were in doubt after their leaders boycotted the conference over the U.S. decision to exclude several countries it considers to be antidemocratic.
Savi Arvey, policy advisor on the migrant rights and justice team at the Women’s Refugee Commission, said that the declaration included some “positive initial steps,” and that advocates are hoping participating countries will follow through on their pledges.
“These are good, initial steps, but as countries work together, we’re hoping for bigger, bolder action, especially on international protection,” she said.