Joint Statement—Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection
We, the Heads of State and Government of the Argentine Republic, Barbados, Belize, the Federative Republic of Brazil, Canada, the Republic of Chile, the Republic of Colombia, the Republic of Costa Rica, the Republic of Ecuador, the Republic of El Salvador, the Republic of Guatemala, the Republic of Haiti, the Republic of Honduras, Jamaica, the United Mexican States, the Republic of Panama, the Republic of Paraguay, the Republic of Peru, the United States of America, and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, gathered in Los Angeles on the margins of the Ninth Summit of the Americas, reiterate our will to strengthen national, regional, and hemispheric efforts to create the conditions for safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration and to strengthen frameworks for international protection and cooperation.
We embrace the need to promote the political, economic, security, social, and environmental conditions for people to lead peaceful, productive, and dignified lives in their countries of origin. Migration should be a voluntary, informed choice and not a necessity.
We are committed to protecting the safety and dignity of all migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons, regardless of their migratory status, and respecting their human rights and fundamental freedoms. We intend to cooperate closely to facilitate safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration and, as appropriate, promote safe and dignified returns, consistent with national legislation, the principle of non-refoulement, and our respective obligations under international law.
We acknowledge that addressing irregular international migration requires a regional approach, and that ongoing health, social, and economic challenges of the pandemic exacerbate the root causes driving irregular migration, including the vulnerabilities of many migrants and their communities.
We value the tradition of our region in welcoming refugees and migrants and showing solidarity with our neighbors. We recognize the positive contributions of refugees and migrants to the socio-economic development of their host communities. We recognize the sustained efforts of States in our hemisphere in hosting refugees, providing regular migration pathways, promoting local economic and social integration, facilitating safe, dignified, and voluntary return, and supporting the sustainable reintegration of returnees.
We remain committed to collectively leveraging the benefits of migration while addressing its challenges in countries and communities of origin, transit, destination, and return. We do so in a spirit of collaboration, solidarity, and shared responsibility among States and in partnership with civil society and international organizations. We reaffirm our shared commitment to supporting host communities; strengthening and expanding regular pathways and access to international protection; fostering opportunities for decent work; facilitating regularization and access to basic services; and promoting principles of safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration.
We also intend to strengthen the institutions that are responsible for migration management in our countries and exchange best practices in order to provide efficient and adequate care to migrants and access to protection for refugees.
Promoting Stability and Assistance for Communities of Destination, Origin, Transit, and Return
We affirm that countries of origin and countries and communities hosting large numbers of migrants and refugees may need international financing and assistance related to development, basic humanitarian needs, protection, security, public health, education, financial inclusion, and employment, among others. We support efforts that allow all migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and persons in situations of vulnerability to integrate into host countries and access legal identity, regular status, dignified employment, public services, and international protection, when appropriate and in accordance with national legislation, to rebuild their lives and contribute to those communities. We plan to continue efforts to prevent and reduce statelessness. We intend to expand efforts to address the root causes of irregular migration throughout our hemisphere, improving conditions and opportunities in countries of origin and promoting respect for human rights. We reaffirm the importance of safe, dignified, and sustainable return, readmission, and reintegration of migrants to help them reestablish themselves in their communities of origin. We further reaffirm the importance of ensuring all foreign nationals receive prompt consular assistance when needed or requested, and returnees are treated humanely and in a dignified manner, regardless of their immigration status, including in the process of their repatriation and return.
Promoting Regular Pathways for Migration and International Protection
We affirm that regular pathways, including circular and seasonal labor migration opportunities, family reunification, temporary migration mechanisms, and regularization programs promote safer and more orderly migration. We intend to strengthen fair labor migration opportunities in the region, integrating robust safeguards to ensure ethical recruitment and employment free of exploitation, violence, and discrimination, consistent with respect for human rights and with a gender perspective. We intend to promote, in accordance with national legislation, the recognition of qualifications and the portability of social benefits. We intend to pursue accountability for those who commit human rights violations and abuses. We plan to promote access to protection and complementary pathways for asylum seekers, refugees, and stateless persons in accordance with national legislation and with respect for the principle of non-refoulement. We seek to promote border security and management processes that respect human rights and encourage and facilitate lawful, safe, and secure travel within the region. We commit to guarantee human rights to individuals in vulnerable situations and to provide access to international protection, as appropriate. We further intend to provide specialized and gender-responsive attention to individuals in situations of vulnerability.
Promoting Humane Migration Management
Renewing our commitment to respect and ensure the human rights of all migrants and persons in need of international protection, we recognize each country's responsibility to manage mixed movements across international borders in a secure, humane, orderly, and regular manner. We intend to expand collaborative efforts to save lives, address violence and discrimination, counter xenophobia, and combat smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons. This includes expanded collaboration to prosecute migrant smuggling and human trafficking criminal organizations as well as their facilitators and money laundering networks. We commit to provide appropriate protection and assistance to victimized individuals. We intend, in accordance with national legislation, to improve and facilitate regional law enforcement information sharing, with the purpose of supporting the investigation and prosecution of crimes. We intend to explore new mechanisms, while preserving and leveraging existing regional, subregional, hemispheric, and global fora, to strengthen cooperation on border management and apply current mechanisms on visa regimes and regularization processes to combat exploitation by criminal groups. In the instance of foreign nationals without a need for international protection and without a legal basis to remain in their country of presence, we commit to conduct any returns in a manner consistent with our respective obligations under international human rights law and international refugee
law, and that respects the dignity of the individual, integrates safeguards to prevent refoulement, and promotes the return of children to safe conditions.
Promoting a Coordinated Emergency Response
Recognizing the imperative of promoting safe, orderly, and regular migration, and the safety of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in the region, we intend to work to cooperate in emergency response and humanitarian assistance in situations of mass migration and refugee movements. We plan to strengthen existing regional coordination mechanisms and, as appropriate, the participation of civil society and international organizations to advance those aims. This includes strengthening information sharing, as appropriate and in accordance with national legislation, enhancing early warning systems, leveraging existing relevant fora and processes, and defining a common set of triggers that activate a coordinated response.
A Shared Approach to Reduce and Manage Irregular Migration
To advance the common goals laid out in this Declaration and create the conditions for safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration through robust responsibility sharing, we intend to work together across the hemisphere to:
- Convene multilateral development banks, international financial institutions, and traditional and non-traditional donors to review financial support instruments for countries hosting migrant populations and facing other migration challenges, without prejudice to existing financing priorities and programs.
- Improve regional cooperation mechanisms for law enforcement cooperation, information sharing, protection-sensitive border management, visa regimes, and regularization processes, as appropriate and in accordance with national legislation.
- Strengthen and expand temporary labor migration pathways, as feasible, that benefit countries across the region, including through new programs promoting connections between employers and migrant workers, robust safeguards for ethical recruitment, and legal protections for workers' rights.
- Improve access to public and private services for all migrants, refugees, and stateless persons to promote their full social and economic inclusion in host communities.
- Expand access to regular pathways for migrants and refugees to include family reunification options where appropriate and feasible, in accordance with national legislation.
This Declaration builds upon existing efforts and international commitments and advances the vision set forth in the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) anchored in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We acknowledge the progress noted in the International Migration Review Forum Progress Declaration for the GCM. We affirm the fundamental work that continues under the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS), the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM), and the South American Conference on Migration (SACM), as key regional bodies to facilitate the implementation of this Declaration, as well as the Quito Process and the Regional Inter-agency Coordination Platform for refugees and migrants from Venezuela. The United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention; its 1967 Protocol; the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and International Humanitarian Law; the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children; its Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families; as well as other international conventions, remain binding on Parties to those conventions that endorse this Declaration. This Declaration aligns with States' commitments in the International Labour Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment. We reiterate the importance and meaning of the principle of non-refoulement as a cornerstone of the international protection of refugees. We applaud efforts throughout the region to provide a coordinated and comprehensive response to all migrants, returnees, refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons. We make this Declaration of non-legally binding commitments to enhance cooperation and shared responsibilities on managing migration and protection in ways grounded in human rights, transparency, nondiscrimination, and State sovereignty.
NOTE: An original was not available for verification of the content of this joint statement.
Joseph R. Biden, Joint Statement—Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/356381