Western Hemisphere nations pledge to continue coordinating response to historic regional migration

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Representatives from 22 Western Hemisphere countries gathered in Guatemala renewed their commitment Tuesday to continue offering legal pathways to enter their countries, to provide aid to communities most affected by migration and to coordinate their response to manage immigration flows.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that progress had been made in all of those areas during the past two years. Still, the region saw record migration last year both through the treacherous Darien Gap separating Colombia and Panama and at the U.S. border.

Two years ago, leaders from across the hemisphere signed the “Los Angeles Declaration,” a U.S.-led attempt to coordinate a regional response to historic levels of migration.

“At the core of our efforts is the message that individuals should take advantage of lawful pathways rather than make the dangerous journey north,” Blinken said during a news conference with Guatemala President Bernardo Arévalo Tuesday morning.

He said the Biden administration would work with the U.S. Congress to come up with another $578 million in aid to countries in the hemisphere hosting migrants.

Signatory countries also said they would set up a coordinating body to evaluate countries’ progress in meeting their commitments.

Guatemala committed to expanding access to offices where migrants can be screened and receive information about legal pathways. They had been limited to only Guatemalans, but now will also assist Hondurans, Salvadorans and Nicaraguans.

Mexico Foreign Affairs Secretary Alicia Bárcena said via the social platform X, formerly Twitter, that her country and the U.S. were on the same page: “Our presidents share the interest in taking on the structural causes of migration in the region and tackling shared challenges.”