IOM, UNHCR call for collaborative response to refugees, migrants in Americas

IOM, UNHCR call for collaborative response to refugees, migrants in Americas

They express concerns about new restrictions on access to asylum following long overdue lifting of Title 42

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

GENEVA (AA) - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR on Friday called for a collaborative approach to better respond to the mixed movement of refugees and migrants throughout the Americas.

Both agencies expressed worry in a statement about increased barriers to accessing asylum following the lifting of the Title 42 public health order by the US but commend constructive steps to increase resettlement and other regular channels in the region.

"While the number of people approaching the US border has grown in recent years, the majority of people on the move in the Americas are still hosted by countries in Latin America," they said.

Noting that the challenges presented by the movement of refugees and migrants cannot be solved by any country in isolation, they said the real progress "can only be made through joint efforts".

In order to increase access to protection, asylum, and legal migratory routes while reinforcing solutions, states and other stakeholders must work collaboratively, the organizations said.

"The United States-led expansion of refugee resettlement and other regular pathways is a welcomed step that can present real alternatives for desperate people who are risking their lives to find safety and solutions," they said and added:

"But expansion of resettlement and other regular pathways cannot replace the responsibility of States to provide people with access to territory and asylum procedures. "

Since Title 42 was enacted by former President Donald Trump in March 2020, the policy has allowed the US to expel migrants nearly 2.7 million times from the southern border, according to government figures.

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