Posted on June 2, 2024

U.S. Planning to Refer Some Migrants for Resettlement in Greece and Italy Under Biden Initiative

Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS, May 31, 2024

The Biden administration is planning to refer some migrants in Latin America for resettlement in Greece and Italy as part of another effort to discourage people in the region from traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border, two people familiar with the government’s plans told CBS News.

The initiative would involve Greece and Italy welcoming migrants processed at immigration offices that the Biden administration set up last year in four Latin American countries to screen migrants who hope to reach the U.S., the sources said, requesting anonymity to discuss arrangements that have yet to be announced.

The centers, officially known as Safe Mobility Offices, allow certain migrants in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Guatemala to apply to come to the U.S. or other countries legally. Under the new arrangements, Greece and Italy would join Canada and Spain in resettling some of those processed at the offices. One of the sources said Italy and Greece would likely accept a relatively small number of migrants, roughly 500 or fewer each.

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On May 20, U.S. officials met with diplomats from Canada, Italy, Spain and the countries hosting the Safe Mobility Offices to discuss the initiative, according to internal Department of Homeland Security documents. In an interview with CBS News last week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas appeared to reference the agreement with Greece.

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The plans to divert some Latin American migrants to Greece and Italy highlight an increasing trend by the U.S. and other Western countries to manage intensifying migration crises around the world through international deals.

Just like the U.S. has faced unprecedented levels of migration to its southern border, Italy and Greece have struggled with the arrival of large numbers of migrants fleeing wars and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East over the past decade. The migration crises faced by both European countries have upended their politics and underscored the often-deadly nature of journeys in the Mediterranean Sea.

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