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HomeLocal NewsMigration surges in Americas, 'funds simply aren't there' UN says

Migration surges in Americas, ‘funds simply aren’t there’ UN says

Ugoč Daniels of the International Organization for Migration said finding long-term solutions would require a larger, coordinated regional effort.

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Countries in the Americas are struggling as migrant flows reach record levels, but international “funding simply does not exist” to meet humanitarian needs, a United Nations official said.

Ugoch Daniels, deputy director of the Operations Department of the International Organization for Migration, said that in order to solve the problem of stable flow of vulnerable groups to the United States in the long term, larger-scale and coordinated regional efforts are needed.

But other global crises—including the war in Ukraine, the conflict in Sudan, Morocco earthquake Daniels told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that global funds have been withdrawn.

The United Nations estimates that it needs $55.2 billion this year through August to respond to increasingly complex global crises, but it has received only 71% of it.

An increasing number of countries, e.g. Panama and Costa Rica International aid is being pleaded to deal with the migrant surge, but Daniels did not say who should foot the bill.

“Obviously, this is not a problem that any one country can solve,” she said. “Unprecedented financial flows in the region require attention – the attention of the international community.”

The flow of migrants to the Mexico-U.S. border has grown in recent years, with thousands crossing into Texas every day in recent days. In fiscal year 2017, U.S. authorities stopped immigrants at the border 310,531 times, and in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2023, there were more than 1.8 million stops.

The crush of crowds – many of them Venezuelan – has overwhelmed Latin American governments, many of which lack the funds to care for their own citizens. On Wednesday, Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chavez declared a state of emergency due to the high number of arrivals.

“We all know that there is a migration crisis across the American continent. Fundamentally, we are a transit country for migrants, and people are passing through Costa Rica primarily to reach the United States,” Chavez said.

The lack of aid funding is not a new problem and has been particularly noticeable amid Venezuela’s mass migration.

Mass migration has emerged as more than 7.2 million people flee the South American country’s economic and political turmoil Received pennies from dollars The amount of aid is larger compared to other global migration crises such as Syria. Countries such as Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, which host large numbers of Venezuelan migrants, have called for more support for years.

In September, a United Nations report said $400 million was needed to address Venezuelan migration, but the international body had received only a third of it.

“Aid funding is clearly insufficient,” said Juan Papil, deputy Americas director for Human Rights Watch. “But it also reflects the lack of attention Latin America has received and the lack of interest among Latin American governments in properly addressing this issue.”

Papil said the lack of aid to help pay for immigration services has fueled resentment and xenophobia in many South American countries, leading to stricter policies. He said such policies have prompted Venezuelans to move north through routes such as the Darien Gap, fueling a new wave of migrants entering the United States.

Analysts and Daniels noted that the international response has been largely shaped by a short-term patchwork of measures.

Adam Isakson, an analyst at the Office on Latin America in Washington, said the U.S. pressured countries to stem the flow of migrants and erect new barriers, leading to a temporary halt in arrivals but then a new surge.

“They’re just looking for new ways to keep the numbers down for as long as possible,” Isaacson said. “It’s not permanent, it’s super, super short-term.”

Daniels said the government does need to address the root causes of migration, such as poverty, corruption, crime and political repression.

But at the same time, she said that instead of taking restrictive measures, the government should take more measures to help immigrants, such as developing work programs. She also urged countries to provide legal ways for migrants to travel so they don’t have to turn to smugglers, who she said make $7 billion to $10 billion a year at the U.S.-Mexico border alone.

She urged countries to resolve disputes over migrant flows and praised Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced this week He will convene a meeting of 10 countries in the region to discuss the recent wave of migration.

“I hear some people talking about immigration controls, closing borders, and we know that’s not going to work. We know what people will do is still find a way to move, but it’s going to be more risky and they’re going to be more vulnerable,” Daniels said. “You can’t control immigration; you can handle it.”

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