On Wednesday, a joint statement was released from the governments of the United States, Mexico, and Guatemala. The three countries announced an agreement to collaborate to help manage migration through stronger “border enforcement” in each respective country. Despite talk of regional development, little concessions were offered in the realm of getting to the root of irregular migration as the Biden administration once promised.

Instead, the focus of the agreement leans heavily on getting Guatemala and Mexico to share the burden of stemming the flow of migrants from Latin America to the US. According to the statement, “The meeting solidified key areas of collaboration between the three partners, including on issues related to root causes and development, border enforcement, labor mobility pathways, and orderly, humane, and regular migration in the region.”

In terms of economic development, the statement offered little saying, “The three delegations agreed on the urgency of addressing the root causes of irregular migration and displacement. To that end, participants discussed the importance of encouraging investments in Guatemala that develop infrastructure and expand access to health, education, electricity, and housing.”

The statement continued, “Participants also emphasized the need to foster economic productivity, foster supply chains between our countries, and create jobs in the region.”

Given the history of US interventionism in the region, saying “encouraging investments in Guatemala” doesn’t sound like much when talking about getting to “the root causes”. The absence of any tangible commitment cannot be ignored particularly when studies show that unilateral US sanctions on many countries in the region directly lead to irregular migration.

The statement also addresses increasing access to labor mobility pathways for migrant workers and “upholding international human rights and protection standards, ensuring the dignity and well-being of migrants and refugees, and maintaining consular cooperation as a means of defending labor rights.”

In addition, they agreed to “strengthen joint law enforcement efforts, including by enhancing information sharing and working collectively to investigative and prosecute human trafficking and migrant smuggling networks” to combat human trafficking.” These enhancements add to already-in-place agreements allowing the US to conduct background checks on migrants entering the country beating back the common myth among conservatives that migrants aren’t vetted at the border.

Discussion also focused on the need to increase coordinated joint efforts on humane border management and enforcement, including at the U.S. – Mexico and Mexico – Guatemala borders,” reads the statement. “The three delegations committed to share data about migration flows by launching a new dashboard, which will enhance data-driven decision-making and coordination.”

In closing, the statement emphasized working “to improve security, law enforcement, processes, and infrastructure along their international borders. Law enforcement authorities from the three countries will work together to identify security gaps, share information, and develop coordinated operational plans. This effort will build on and expand existing partnerships to address shared challenges at our borders.”

The statement leaves many questions still unanswered as to how the US intends to get to the root of the problem that it so often creates for everyday people in Latin America and beyond.

Read the full statement here

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Arturo Dominguez

Arturo is an anti-racist political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. He is a top writer on Medium and a regular contributor to several news media outlets. He writes educational and informative material about systemic racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice.

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