US Plans to Resettle Migrants in Greece and Italy Under Biden Initiative

Migrants 2

The Biden administration is set to refer some migrants in Latin America for resettlement in Greece and Italy as part of a new effort to discourage travel to the U.S.-Mexico border, sources told CBS News.

The initiative will see Greece and Italy accepting migrants processed at Safe Mobility Offices, established by the U.S. in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Guatemala. These offices screen migrants seeking to enter the U.S. or other countries legally. Greece and Italy will join Canada and Spain in this resettlement effort, each likely accepting around 500 migrants or fewer.

This plan is part of a broader strategy to reduce illegal border crossings by providing legal immigration pathways. The administration has also implemented stricter enforcement measures, such as a rule presuming migrants are ineligible for U.S. asylum if they didn’t seek protection in a third country.

Unlawful crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border have dropped by more than 50% in May compared to the record high in December, which officials attribute to these policies. To prevent a potential surge in migration, President Biden is preparing an executive action to bar most asylum claims during high illegal crossing periods.

The State Department noted that the Safe Mobility Offices have increased refugee resettlements from the Western Hemisphere sixfold. Diplomatic discussions are ongoing with other countries to expand the program.

U.S. officials met with diplomats from Canada, Italy, Spain, and the countries hosting the Safe Mobility Offices on May 20 to discuss the initiative. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently referenced the agreement with Greece, highlighting efforts to create legal pathways for migrants.

Representatives for the Greek and Italian governments have not commented on the plans.

This move underscores a trend of international cooperation to manage global migration crises. Greece and Italy, which have faced significant migrant inflows from North Africa and the Middle East, see this as an opportunity to address labour shortages due to aging populations.

The Safe Mobility Offices, announced in May 2023, assess migrants for various legal entry options into the U.S., including refugee resettlement, family visas, work visas, and humanitarian parole. About 10,000 migrants processed at these offices have been resettled in the U.S. through the Refugee Admissions Program.

(Source: CBS)

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