On Tuesday, July 12, presidents Joe Biden and Andrés Manuel López Obrador will meet in Washington DC. A central topic of the meeting will be migration, an urgent priority in a context of historic levels of regional displacement and arrivals of migrants and asylum seekers in Mexico and the United States.
The meeting comes two weeks after the tragedy in San Antonio, Texas, where 53 migrants died attempting to enter the United States in a tractor-trailer. The devastating and avoidable San Antonio case shows the need to move past immigration policies focused on closing borders and blocking migrants’ paths: such strategies simply force people to take dangerous routes and hire smugglers instead of being able to migrate legally.
Ahead of the bilateral meeting, 87 U.S., Mexican, regional, and international civil society organizations sent an open letter to the two presidents outlining key points for an effective and sustainable response to high levels of migration in the region, with a focus on human rights and the protection of migrants and asylum seekers. Key priorities highlighted in the letter include:
Policies based on closing migration pathways and expelling arriving people do not solve forced migration; they only increase the suffering and danger that migrants face on their journey. WOLA and partner organizations urgently call on both presidents to advance toward the goals outlined in the recent Summit of the Americas’ Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection by implementing migration policies that respect human rights. Civil society organizations on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, who work with the migrant and refugee population day to day, should be included in the design of regional migration strategies and stand ready to engage with both governments on these issues.
Read the letter sent by the organizations here.