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Blinken holds regional talks on Latin American immigration

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with top Latin American officials in Guatemala on Tuesday as part of the Biden administration’s push for countries in the region to strengthen border enforcement and expand legal immigration options.

President Biden has been criticized for his handling of the southern border, an issue that is a major concern for many voters in this year’s presidential election. In recent years, U.S. officials have increasingly turned to international partnerships to help them stem the flow of migrants arriving at the southern border.

The United States relies heavily on its closest immigration partner, Mexico, to control the number of people heading to the southern border. In late December, Mr. Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Went to Mexico U.S. border agents, who encountered more than 250,000 migrants in a month, discussed stepping up enforcement. On some days in December, there were 10,000 stops.

Since then, the number of migrants arriving at the southern border has dropped dramatically. In February, agents arrested about 140,000 people. More than 137,000 people were arrested in March, while the number of arrests in April is expected to be lower, at about 129,000, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The downward trend in border numbers could help Biden demonstrate that he is taking border security seriously.

Tuesday’s meeting is part of ongoing negotiations related to the Los Angeles Declaration, a 2022 agreement signed by the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil and other countries. The agreement states that each country has a responsibility to secure its borders and that countries will facilitate new legal immigration efforts.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Kristi Canegalo said the compact was important to “provide a framework and shared goals.”

U.S. officials noted that a direct result of the agreement was the establishment of so-called secure mobility offices in countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, Ecuador and Costa Rica. The offices have helped the Biden administration increase processing of refugees from the region.

The United States on Monday imposed visa restrictions on executives of Colombian companies that transport migrants by sea, saying the movements were “primarily intended to facilitate irregular migration to the United States.”

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