U.S. emphasizes legal pathways for migration

Vice President Harris stands in front of mountains during a news conference in El Paso, Texas, June 25, after a tour of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Central Processing Center. (© Jacquelyn Martin/AP Images)

The United States is working to develop more avenues for legal migration while also developing efficient, effective and humane ways to enforce current immigration policies.

“The President and I are absolutely committed to ensuring that our immigration system is orderly and humane,” said Vice President Harris on a June 25 trip to the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas.

Under the Biden administration, the Department of Homeland Security recently announced 6,000 temporary, non-agricultural worker H-2B visas for workers from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

President Biden also issued a new fiscal year 2021 Presidential Determination on Refugees to create 4,000 additional slots for refugees from Latin America and the Caribbean, including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

To help those escaping danger at home, the U.S. Department of State opened the first Migration Resource Center in Guatemala to provide protection, referrals for asylum, refugee resettlement and parole options. The center will also have referrals for labor and reintegration programs for those who do not have protection needs.

The Department of State, international partner organizations and DHS have successfully processed over 11,900 people who were returned to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols program for reentry into the United States to safely and legally pursue their active U.S. immigration cases.

The U.S. will continue to address the root causes of irregular migration so that those considering the journey north may find opportunities to build better, more prosperous lives in their home countries and stay near their loved ones.

“The work that we have to do is the work of addressing the root causes, otherwise we’ll continue to see the effect, what is happening at the border,” Harris said.