SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good afternoon. President Shahid, Director General Vitorino, thank you for your leadership at this first International Migration Review Forum. These are unprecedented times. There are more migrants on the move around the world today than at any time since World War II, some 95 million. As people leave their homes in search of safety and opportunity, undertaking perilous journeys, it’s critical that countries and institutions work together to make migration safer and more orderly.
Forging that common approach to managing migration and protecting vulnerable people is the intention of the Global Compact for Migration. The United States supports that vision. We seek migration policies that are grounded in human rights, human dignity, transparency, and state sovereignty. And we’re committed to partnering with civil society, with governments, the private sector, and international institutions like the United Nations, because this is a challenge that no one of us can solve alone.
The countries here today have taken important steps since the Global Compact was adopted in 2018. For example, several of our neighbors in the region have provided legal status and services to people fleeing repression and made education available to their children. International organizations and nongovernmental groups are providing support after climate-related disasters and training local officials in climate resilience and adaptation to help communities that are now threatened with being displaced because of the climate crisis. We also welcome efforts by civil society to keep governments focused on human rights and humanitarian assistance, because migration is not an abstract notion. Every migrant is a human being deserving of dignity and protection.
The United States will work closely with our partners to build on the progress that’s being made. Next month, at the Summit of the Americas, we’ll continuing developing a collaborative response to irregular migration throughout our hemisphere where the issue is particularly acute. Together, we’re working on the root causes of irregular migration, including a lack of economic opportunity, insecurity, corruption and repressive governance, climate-related emergencies, to address why people are leaving their homes in the first place. For example, Vice President Kamala Harris rallied the private sector to invest more than a billion dollars to create economic opportunities in Central America.
We’re working to expand legal pathways for migration, including allocating more than 50,000 additional temporary worker visas this year, expanding family reunification programs, and funding support for vulnerable migrants and refugees around the globe.
We’re also helping to improve protections for migrants worldwide, in part through our work with the International Organization for Migration and the International Labor Organization, to combat human trafficking and to promote ethical cross-border job recruitment.
There’s another migration issue that is front of mind today. Almost 13 million people have fled or been displaced in Ukraine since President Putin’s war began in February. I want to commend the countries that are welcoming Ukrainian refugees and supporting the humanitarian response. We remain united in supporting Ukraine and opposing this senseless war.
The United States will continue to work for safe, orderly, and humane migration around the world. As a nation built and enriched by immigrants, this issue is particularly close to our hearts. Thank you to everyone here for your commitment, and we very much look forward to our work in the months and years ahead. Thank you very much. (Applause.)