June 03, 2022

Western Hemisphere Migration is a Long-Term Challenge

By Carrie Cordero and Cris Ramón

Next week, the Biden administration hosts the ninth Summit of the Americas, a gathering of leaders from the 35 countries that form the core of the Organization for American States (OAS). The Summit takes place once every four years. In addition to addressing long-standing issues such as trade, combatting corruption, and upholding democratic governance, the United States has added addressing root causes of irregular migration to the agenda. This year will be the first time attendees will tackle this issue since President Bill Clinton convened the first summit in 1994. The region cannot afford to wait until 2026 to meaningfully discuss this issue again at a high-level convening.

Addressing western hemisphere migration should be a national and international priority. Capacity of these migration flows to rapidly change in scale and scope demands that the United States, the rest of the countries in the region, and international organizations such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), establish regular, hemispheric-wide meetings to develop polices and manage these flows in a coordinated way.

Addressing western hemisphere migration should be a national and international priority.

Large-scale migration events have been a core facet of life across the hemisphere in the latter half of the 20th century. Factors such as insufficient economic opportunities, cartel violence and civil wars in Central and South America prompted people to leave their countries in search of better opportunities and safety in other countries. Central American and Caribbean migrants, most prominently Cuban and Haitian, have all taken land and sea routes to reach the United States. In South America, families and individuals have fled dictatorships and civil wars to neighboring countries, with some, such as Colombians, traveling to the United States to seek safety.

Read the full article from Just Security.

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