Blinken Holds Regional Talks on Migration in Latin America

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with senior Latin American officials in Guatemala on Tuesday as part of the Biden administration’s push to get countries in the region to step up border enforcement and expand legal routes for migration.

President Biden has faced criticism for his handling of the southern border, and this issue is a major concern for many voters in this year’s presidential election. In recent years, US officials have increasingly turned to international partnerships to help them prevent large numbers of migrants from reaching the southern border.

The United States relies heavily on Mexico, its closest immigration partner, to control the number of people heading to the southern border. In late December, Mr. Blinken and Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, He went to Mexico To discuss increased law enforcement during a month in which U.S. border agents encountered more than 250,000 migrants. On some days in December, 10,000 stops were made.

Since then, the number of migrants arriving at the southern border has declined dramatically. In February, agents made about 140,000 arrests. In March, there were more than 137,000 arrests, and April’s number is expected to be lower, at about 129,000, according to a person familiar with the statistics who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss numbers that have not yet been finalized.

The downward trend in border numbers could help Mr. Biden demonstrate that he takes border security seriously.

Tuesday’s meeting is part of ongoing talks related to the Los Angeles Declaration, the 2022 agreement signed by the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil and other countries. The agreement stipulates that each country is responsible for securing its borders and that countries will promote new legal immigration efforts.

Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Christie Canigalo said the agreement was important to “provide a shared framework and goals.”

American officials point to the establishment of so-called safe movement offices in countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, Ecuador and Costa Rica, as a direct result of the agreement. The offices have helped the Biden administration increase processing of refugee applications from the region.

On Monday, the United States imposed visa restrictions on executives from Colombian companies transporting migrants by sea, saying the moves were “designed primarily to facilitate illegal immigration to the United States.”

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