The senior advisor for migration at the White House, Katie Tobin, speaks during an interview with EFE, today, at the White House, in Washington (United States). EFE/Octavio Guzman
By Beatriz Pascual Macias |
Washington (EFE).- The US government is trying to expand the “Safe Mobility” program to more Latin American countries, already active in Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala, and whose objective is to offer legal pathways to migrants and refugees who yearn to reach USA.
This was revealed to EFE in an interview by Katie Tobin, senior advisor for migration at the White House, and who last Tuesday was sitting next to US President Joe Biden in a meeting he held in the Oval Office with his Costa Rican counterpart, Rodrigo Chaves.
The so-called “Safe Mobility” offices can be a “model” for other countries, in his opinion, and the US intends to expand that program across the continent.
“We hope other countries will step up and also agree to host these safe mobility offices or accept cases from them. We really need all countries to play a role in this,” said Biden’s adviser.
Tobin did not reveal in which countries the next “Safe Mobility” offices could be opened, but he assured that there are conversations “ongoing” with other partners that are taking place within the framework of the Los Angeles Declaration, to which 21 nations committed to improve migration management in the region.
Biden’s priority, he explained, is to expand the pathways for migrants and refugees to legally move to the United States and not have to undertake the dangerous journey north on their own.
38,000 people have already applied to the program
Since the offices began to operate in June in Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala, more than 38,000 people have submitted their applications through the mobilidadsegura.org website, a State Department spokesperson told EFE.
However, as of August 28, of those 38,000 individuals, only 2,100 have been able to start the procedures to request asylum in the United States, that is, 5.5% of all applicants.
In addition to the United States, migrants and refugees have the option of going to Spain and Canada, which have pledged to take in some asylum seekers.
The “Safe Mobility” program seeks to help migrants and refugees who have been arriving in greater numbers in the United States in recent months and who are usually from Venezuela, Cuba or Haiti.
Specifically, the Colombia office allows applications from Cubans, Haitians and Venezuelans, while Costa Rica attends to Venezuelans and Nicaraguans and Guatemala pays attention to its own nationals, who for years have fled to the US due to violence and lack of security. opportunities in your country.
Pilot migration programs
The offices in Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala are operating as part of a six-month pilot program, which is in a trial period and could become permanent.
Tobin did not give clues as to whether the US plans to extend that program and limited himself to saying that, for now, the Executive is evaluating its operation together with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration. (OIM), which collaborate with its implementation.
“We are testing it, seeing how it works. We are solving all the problems and working not only with governments, but also with humanitarian actors. So we want to see how the pilot program works. Hopefully it will be a success and then we can expand it,” she said.
Apart from the “Safe Mobility” offices, the Biden Government has taken other measures to promote legal migration and prevent thousands of people from crossing the border with Mexico on foot in search of asylum or better economic opportunities, which has exercised a great pressure on the resources of some border communities.
One of the programs allows nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to request a humanitarian permit to enter the United States, but only those who arrive by plane to US territory and have a contact who can prove that it will help them adjust to the crisis qualify. country.
In addition, the Executive has developed the mobile application “CBP One”, which allows those who are in Mexico to make appointments with the US authorities to present their asylum cases. That app only offers 1,250 appointments a day, which means available slots fill up fast.