As of mid-2022, an estimated 20 million people were displaced in the Americas. The needs of this massive population are only growing and their migration, safety, and impact on communities in the region is becoming a priority for policymakers, especially in the United States. On April 27, 2023, the U.S. Departments of State (DOS) and Homeland Security (DHS) issued updated policies on migration management across the Western Hemisphere. These policies will be implemented in coordination with regional partners, including the governments of Mexico, Canada, Spain, Colombia, and Guatemala. They are meant to facilitate safe migration across the region, prevent unauthorized crossings and congestion at the U.S. southern border, and create more pathways for people to legally enter the United States and other countries. However, they also put more restrictions on and disqualify many people from accessing asylum; impose harsh consequences for irregular migration; could make access to legal representation more difficult; and may be challenging to implement due to increased staffing needs and existing case backlogs.
This policy brief provides an analysis of these new policies, their pros and cons, and the implications and legal precedent they will set for asylum, complementary pathways, and migration management for the United States and other countries.