Biden Planning To Send Migrants For Resettlement In Greece And Italy

According to people familiar with the government, Biden is planning to send migrants for resettlement in Greece and Italy.

Biden Planning To Send Migrants For Resettlement In Greece And Italy 1

As part of an additional initiative to deter residents of the region from visiting the border between the United States and Mexico, the Biden administration intends to refer certain migrants from Latin America for resettlement in Greece and Italy, two people familiar with the government’s intentions told CBS News.

The sources, who asked to remain anonymous to discuss the as-yet-unannounced arrangements, said that the initiative would involve Greece and Italy accepting migrants processed at immigration offices that the Biden administration set up last year in four Latin American countries to screen migrants who hope to reach the U.S.

The Safe Mobility Offices, as the centers are formally called, enable certain migrants from Guatemala, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Colombia to petition for lawful immigration to the United States or other nations. As per the revised plans, Greece and Italy will relocate some of the individuals who were processed at the offices along with Canada and Spain. According to one of the sources, Italy and Greece would probably only take in 500 or fewer migrants.

The offices are part of a larger Biden administration plan to provide potential immigrants with legal immigration choices to decrease unauthorized border crossings. The administration has coupled those initiatives over the past year with stricter enforcement policies, like as a regulation that assumes migrants are not eligible for asylum in the United States if they did not seek protection in a third nation.

In May, the number of unauthorized crossings at the border between the United States and Mexico fell by over 50% from the record high recorded in December. Officials from the administration have ascribed this decline to their policies and the efforts of Mexican officials to prevent migrants from heading north. President Biden is also getting ready to sign an executive order as early as next week that would prohibit the majority of asylum claims if illegal crossings increase, sources involved with the internal discussions told CBS News. This move is meant to stifle any potential surge in immigration.

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Migrants seeking to enter the U.S. through a barbed-wire fence installed along the Rio Grande are driven away with pepper spray shots by Texas National Guard agents at the border with Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on May 13, 2024.

The Safe Mobility Offices, according to a State Department official, have “enabled a six-fold increase in the number of refugees resettled from the Western Hemisphere.”

“Given the success of the program,” the spokesperson added, “we are in diplomatic discussions with other countries about joining this initiative to expand lawful pathways for resettlement but have no additional information to share at this time.”

According to internal Department of Homeland Security records, on May 20, U.S. officials met with ambassadors from Canada, Italy, Spain, and the nations hosting the Safe Mobility Offices to discuss the plan. Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, seemed to bring up the deal with Greece during an interview with CBS News last week.

“We work with Canada, Spain, and just recently, Greece, to build lawful pathways for individuals to arrive in their countries, out of the hands of smugglers who just seek to exploit these individuals for profit,” Mayorkas said.

Requests for comments from the governments of Greece and Italy were not answered.

Ansa, one of the major Italian news agencies, was informed by Italian government sources following the initial publication of this article that Rome was examining a migration arrangement with the United States; however, they characterized it as a refugee swap. It would only involve “20 Venezuelan refugees of Italian origin,” according to the sources.

“The hypothesis of a reciprocity agreement is currently being studied, according to which the U.S. would host refugees who are in Libya and desire to go to Europe, while some European Mediterranean States would host a few dozen South American refugees,” the sources told the Italian outlet.

Meanwhile, the minister of migration for Greece declared, “There is neither an agreement nor a request from the US to resettle legal immigrants in Greece.”

Plans to reroute some migrants from Latin America to Greece and Italy underscore a growing tendency in the United States and other Western nations to use international agreements to manage the world’s escalating migration crisis.

Over the past ten years, Italy and Greece have grappled with the influx of significant numbers of migrants escaping war and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East, just as the United States has seen record amounts of migration to its southern border. Both European countries’ migration crises have turned their political landscapes upside down and brought attention to how dangerous travel across the Mediterranean Sea may be.

However, a lot of migrants use Greece and Italy as transit nations before moving on to other parts of Europe. Additionally, both nations have large labor shortages and aging populations, which encourages them to resettle immigrant workers.

The Safe Mobility Offices, which were first announced in May 2023, are regional brick-and-mortar hubs for the United States to ascertain if migrants are eligible for various legal entry options, such as humanitarian parole, work visas, family visa programs, or traditional refugee resettlement. Also, candidates for relocation in Spain and Canada have undergone screening.

According to internal government data obtained by CBS News, the United States has resettled about 10,000 migrants who were processed through the Refugee Admissions Program at Safe Mobility Offices. The program requires beneficiaries to demonstrate that they are fleeing persecution due to their political views, religion, or other factors.

The host nation determines who can be processed at the Safe Mobility Offices. Applications from migrants from Cuba, Haiti, and Venezuela are accepted at the Colombian office. The office in Costa Rica solely handles applications from Venezuelans and Nicaraguans. The U.S. center in Ecuador is open to cases from citizens of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Colombia. Only Guatemalans are processed by the Guatemalan office.

Recently, GreatGameIndia reported that, according to a Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM) analysis, the cost of the largest deportation operation in American history could easily exceed $1 trillion over 10 years.

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