Blinken calls for regional response to migration at Panama conference

US is looking for strong declaration on migration when Latin American leaders meet in Los Angeles in June.

Blinken calls for regional response to migration at Panama conference

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Wednesday for more regional cooperation in the Western Hemisphere as record numbers of people are being displaced around the world.

Blinken was speaking on the second day of a two-day conference on migration in Panama City, where he joined regional counterparts from 20 other countries.

He said the conference aims to "lay the groundwork for a strong declaration by our leaders" at the June 6-10 Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California.

“Ultimately, we all know this: the only lasting, sustainable response to irregular migration is to tackle its root causes. But that takes time,” Blinken said. “We know that no country, no community can solve a challenge as complicated as irregular migration alone.”

President Joe Biden has been drawing international attention to immigration issues for some time. His administration has struck agreements with Central American countries to stop migrants from reaching the border. US authorities in March arrested more than 221,000 people along the Mexican border, the highest number in more than two decades.

The US has been coping with rising migration largely coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and now from Venezuela.

The number of Venezuelans leaving their country has reached 6.11 million, according to the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela.

Migration rates have been increasing in Venezuela, fueled by violence, insecurity, poverty and a lack of food, medicine and essential services.

Nearly 5 million Venezuelan migrants live in Latin America. Colombia is the country with the most migrants, with 1.8 million, followed by Peru with 1.3 million. Now, a growing number of Venezuelans are crossing through the dangerous jungles of the Darien Gap in search of safety and stability in the US.

Hüseyin Demir