The US President unveiled on Friday a series of new initiatives at the Summit of the Americas, aimed at confronting the regional migration crisis. The measures include the United States and Canada committing to taking more guest labourers, providing pathways for people from poorer countries to work in richer ones, and other countries agreeing to greater protections for migrants. Spain, whose representatives attended the conference as observers, has agreed to play its part in easing the immigration crisis faced by the Biden Administration.
Madrid will double the number of labour pathways for Hondurans to participate in Spain’s circular migration programmes, according to the White House.
However, their commitment to do so is unlikely to have a major impact on the crisis, given that Spain currently enrols just 250 Hondurans in its temporary work programme.
President Biden told the conference: “Mexico, Guatemala, Canada and Spain are making commitments today to expand labour pathways to their countries.”
He also vowed that Washington would not tolerate illegal immigration and warned human smugglers that his government would hunt them down.
The 79-year-old said: “We need to halt the dangerous and unlawful ways people are migrating.
“Unlawful migration is not acceptable.
“If you prey on desperate and vulnerable migrants for profit, we are coming for you.”
The President added: “The United States, the Department of Homeland Security is the first of its kind to disrupt human smuggling in the region.”
America has seen a massive jump in migrants seeking entry into the country, after a recent drop in numbers – in large part due to the pandemic.
The US Border Patrol reported more than 1.6 million encounters with migrants along the border with Mexico in the 2021 fiscal year.
This represents a four-fold increase in comparison to the previous fiscal year and is the highest annual total on record.
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Tourism contributes about 12 per cent to Spain’s overall GDP, according to the National Statistics Institute.
There are currently around 5.3 million foreign immigrants in Spain, of which 1.5 million come from Latin America.
The common language, culture and favourable agreements between Spain and Latin American governments mean it is easier for Latin Americans to move to work in Spain.
In some cases, Latin Americans do not need visas to move to Spain to work.
The Spanish government is also considering drafting new laws to make it easier for foreigners to become legal workers in the country.