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Reaction to the Biden Administration's Collaborative Migration Management Strategy

James Hollifield

The title of the NSC statement summarizes well the strategic initiative, placing the emphasis (and onus) on regional collaboration to achieve ‘safe, legal, and orderly’ migration—similar to the objectives of the UN Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration.  It is difficult, if not impossible, for the U.S. to manage migration and refugee flows unilaterally.  The question is how to achieve the kind of regional cooperation implied in this strategy, to deal with the ‘root causes’ of displacement and forced migration. 

The statement contains several concrete proposals, to relocate protection recipients from Southern Mexico to industrial belt municipalities in Mexico with labor needs, more support for returnees (a euphemism for those who are deported or who return voluntarily), support for border infrastructure and technology, specifically the southern border of Mexico, reviving the Central American Minors (CAM) program, giving some minors in the Northern Triangle the chance to apply for resettlement in the U.S., and expanding temporary/guest worker programs in the U.S.  Most of this can be accomplished through executive action and with existing resources, but it will require the close cooperation of governments in the sending and transit countries. The statement makes clear that the U.S. is renewing its commitment to humanitarian action, consistent with international legal obligations, but with the objective of processing asylum seekers ‘in-country,’ to relieve pressure at the southern US border. 

About the Author

James Hollifield

James Hollifield

Global Fellow;
Professor of Political Science, Arnold Chair in International Political Economy, and Director, Tower Center, SMU
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