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The Biden administration will announce additional measures during the North American Leaders Summit on Tuesday in a desperate attempt to prevent migrants from traveling to the US southern border.
The latest list of efforts comes at a time of unprecedented movement in the Western Hemisphere and is designed to curb border crossings and make programs to legally migrate to the United States, Mexico and Canada more accessible, according to a senior U.S. official. management.
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But the success of those measures depends on whether migrants see those options as viable, especially when urgently fleeing deteriorating conditions in their countries of origin.
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Over the course of his presidency, Joe Biden has faced changing migration patterns that pose unique challenges for the administration and have stretched federal and local resources.
The issue, in turn, has increasingly become a political vulnerability for the administration, drawing sharp criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, and has been a key point of discussion with partners to the south, primarily Mexico.
Ahead of Tuesday's summit, administration officials stressed the need for a regional response that shares responsibility for stemming the flow of migrants among partners in the hemisphere.
Tuesday's announcement is a reflection of that.
The Biden administration is expected to announce a virtual platform that will serve as a one-stop shop for migrants to find information about legal pathways for which they might be eligible, whether in the US, Mexico or Canada, and the opening of a new resource center in southern Mexico, the senior administration official said.
"The United States, Mexico and Canada will commit to making it possible for migrants to access our legal avenues through one platform," the senior administration official told CNN.
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The virtual portal is in part an acknowledgment of the challenges migrants face trying to identify legal pathways to come to the US and then navigating the often difficult and arduous process to do so.
Instead, people often turn to smugglers, who spread misinformation about US policies, to travel north, a stumbling block for the Biden administration as it tries to discourage immigrants from taking that route.
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“This is an experiment,” the senior administration official said, citing recently launched programs for certain nationalities seeking to come to the US.
Work is underway to build the portal and it is expected to be ready in the coming months.
“We're always in competition with smugglers, so we think having easy-to-use, easy-to-access virtual platforms is really important…but also centers where people can go and know they can trust the people there. and obtain accurate information and even be referred based on admissions and interviews,” the official added.
As part of that effort, the US is also working with Mexico to open physical centers where migrants can obtain information on how to apply for US immigration, similar to the migrant resource center launched in Guatemala.
A new center will be established in Tapachula, a city in southern Mexico, through which thousands of migrants pass on their way to the US-Mexico border.
“We know it's a transit location, so the center can help people stay where they are and apply from there,” the senior administration official said.
National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said Monday that migration will be "a major topic of discussion" during this week's summit.
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“There is no question that migration will be a major topic of discussion here for the next 24, 36 hours.
That's clearly on everyone's mind here in the hemisphere," Kirby told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on Monday, citing a recent commitment by Mexico to accept thousands of non-Mexican migrants who cross the border illegally and do not apply to enter the US. .UU. through new programs
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Kirby said the leaders will also discuss the root causes of migration, touting Vice President Kamala Harris' work on the issue and noting that the issue will be a major topic of conversation throughout the trip.
Tuesday's summit builds on last year's meeting in Los Angeles, where Western Hemisphere countries committed to the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection.
The summit was a point of contention between the United States and Mexico when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador rejected the meeting over disagreements over who was invited.
Mexican officials did attend the summit.
The North American Leaders Summit marks the sixth month since that declaration.
“We have a very ambitious agenda and that is why the US has so many commitments on the table from the beginning and we continue to put pressure on other countries,” the senior administration official said, stressing that the challenge will not be resolved out of hand. overnight.