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Canada to welcome 4,000 migrants from Americas

LOS ANGELES –


Canada has agreed to spend nearly $27 million this year on slowing the flow of irregular migration from Latin America and the Caribbean and will welcome 4,000 additional migrants from the region by 2028, the White House said Friday.


It’s part of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, the centrepiece accomplishment from the multilateral Summit of the Americas, which is wrapping up in California.


The agreement also includes a pre-existing Canadian commitment to bring in an additional 50,000 agricultural workers this year from Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean.


The new money will go towards programs to improve integration and border management, protect the rights of migrants and host communities, advance gender equality and tackle human smuggling.


The White House released the details in a fact sheet that came out as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was preparing to deliver remarks to fellow leaders on the floor of the Los Angeles Convention Center.


The plan made public Friday is based on four key pillars: stability and assistance for communities, wider legal migratory routes, humane migration management and co-ordinated emergency response.


It seeks, the White House said, “to mobilize the entire region around bold actions that will transform our approach to managing migration in the Americas.”


It includes commitments from an array of Latin American and Caribbean nations on everything from economic stabilization and humanitarian relief to “regularizing” migrants living illegally in host countries.


Colombia, for instance, has already regularized 1.2 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees, and has agreed to do the same for 1.5 million more by the end of the summer.


Not surprisingly, the U.S. is doing the heaviest lifting, including US$25 million to support countries that are implementing new regularization programs, $314 million for stabilization efforts and a $65-million pilot project to support agricultural workers.


President Joe Biden’s administration is also committing to resettle 20,000 refugees from the Americas over the next two years, three times the current resettlement rate, the White House said.


At the same time as the funding and resettlement efforts, the U.S. plans to crack down on human smuggling operations as well, including a new campaign that’s “unprecedented in scale” aimed at disrupting and dismantling criminal smuggling enterprises in Latin America.


Later Friday, Trudeau was to sit down with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as the leaders of Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.


On Thursday, Trudeau met for an hour with Biden, who agreed to a visit to Canada in the “coming months,” his first since becoming president in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.


“I think we both share the same sense that the possibilities for our hemisphere are unlimited,” Biden told Trudeau, calling it the “most democratic hemisphere in the world.”


Trudeau responded by saying it’s “extraordinarily important” for close partners like Canada and the U.S. to be there for each other and for allies around the globe.


“The work that we can do on supporting and projecting and sharing our values is a way of actually supporting and impacting citizens around the world,” Trudeau said.


Doing so, he said, helps make the case “that democracy is not just fairer, but it’s also better for citizens, putting food on the table, putting futures in front of them.”


The federal government’s official readout of the meeting mentioned their mutual support of Ukraine in its fight against Russia, and that Trudeau also brought up Canada’s support for NATO and the plan to modernize the continental defence system known as Norad.


Trudeau also “expressed his support” for Biden’s proposed hemispheric “Partnership for Economic Prosperity,” but the readout did not mention whether Canada has been invited to take part.


He also committed to working closely with the U.S. and other partners “to respond to the current humanitarian, protection, and irregular migration challenges in the region.”


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2022.

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