Press Release: Jesuit Refugee Service in the U.S. and Canada Welcome Summit of the Americas Declaration to Address Migration Challenges

10 June 2022

Washington, DC.– Jesuit Refugee Service in the U.S. and Canada welcome the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection signed at the Summit of the Americas, which includes commitments by governments in the region to address challenges faced by migrants and asylum seekers in the region.

“By hosting the Summit of the Americas for the first time since 1994, the U.S. took an essential leadership role in convening governments in the region to address challenges faced by migrants and asylum seekers in our hemisphere,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director of JRS/USA. “The U.S. Government commitment to increase resettlement of Haitian refugees, resume and increase participation in the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program, and launch migrant worker programs that provide legal pathways for migrants seeking a better life are critical investments.”

The Declaration included a number of additional commitments made by governments to welcome migrants and asylum seekers from the region. In particular, Canada committed to increasing refugee resettlement from the Americas by accepting up to 4,000 additional refugees by 2028 and to promoting its Francophone Immigration Program among Haitians displaced by the pandemic.

“We applaud the Canadian Government for its commitment to expand its current refugee resettlement and sponsorship program to meet the growing numbers of forcibly displaced persons in the Americas,” said Norbert Piché, Country Director of JRS Canada. “Canada has a long tradition of welcoming those seeking safety and JRS looks forward to continuing to partner with local governments and civil society partners to implement these new initiatives.”

A focus on Haitian migrants is welcome and overdue as thousands of Haitians find themselves in need of assistance after a series of devastating crises that have set into motion a decades-long migration crisis fueled by rampant corruption and violence within Haiti, destructive earthquakes in 2010 and 2021, and increasingly hostile and xenophobic attitudes throughout the Americas which follow Haitians wherever they go.

“While we commend these important commitments, JRS continues to raise concerns regarding U.S. efforts to drastically limit access to asylum through the implementation of Title 42 and the Migrant Protection Protocols,” said Joan Rosenhauer. “Our country must terminate these harmful policies as soon as possible and continue to explore more legal pathways to migration for vulnerable populations, including Haitians.”

JRS encourages the U.S. and Canada to work with regional partners to build on these efforts to develop a comprehensive regional plan that addresses challenges faced by migrants and asylum seekers as they search for safety and security.