- Title: Latin American leaders denounce U.S. immigration policy at CELAC summit
- Date: 26th January 2017
- Summary: PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (JANUARY 25, 2017) (REUTERS) GENERAL OF SUMMIT FLAGS OF CELAC COUNTRIES MORE OF SUMMIT LEADERS AT SUMMIT
- Embargoed: 9th February 2017 05:07
- Keywords: Mexico United States CELAC Evo Morales Rafael Correa Socorro Flores
- Location: PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
- City: PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
- Country: Dominican Republic
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00160KZ137
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Latin American leaders from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) used a summit in Punta Cana on Wednesday (January 25) to rebuke U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration policy as it starts to take shape.
The condemnation comes on the same day that Trump ordered construction of a U.S.-Mexican border wall on his country's southern border as part of broad but divisive plans to reshape U.S. immigration and national security policy.
Trump's directives on Wednesday signalled tough action toward the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States, most from Latin America, whom he has threatened to deport.
The directives ordered the construction of a multibillion-dollar wall along the roughly 2,000-mile (3,200-km) U.S.-Mexico border, moved to strip federal funding from "sanctuary" states and cities that harbour undocumented immigrants, and expanded the force of American immigration agents.
Mexico's representative at the summit, Deputy Minister for Latin America and the Caribbean Socoro Flores, said immigration police should take into account the benefits migrants represent.
"That means to take into account its economic, political, social and cultural dimensions. Here, to take this up means achieving that migrants be recognized as agents of change, prosperity and development, in a framework that protects and respects human rights," Flores said.
Trump's plans prompted an outcry from immigrant advocates and Democratic lawmakers who said he was jeopardizing the rights and freedoms of millions of people while treating Mexico as an enemy, not an ally, and soiling America's historic reputation as a welcoming place for immigrants of all stripes.
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said unity, not division, was the best way to face migration issues.
"The solution to stopping migration isn't walls or borders, its solidarity, humanity and the creation of peace and well-being for everyone in the world. So long a just distribution of wealth is not met; the world's social problems will not be resolved," Correa said.
Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales called on Trump to respect the rights of migrants.
"I call on the president of the United States to develop a migratory policy that respects human rights and advances the establishment of universal citizenship. Brothers and sisters, there can't be a human being in the world who is deemed 'illegal'," Morales said.
Heads of state from the 33-member Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which does not include Canada and the United States, met in the Dominican Republic to discuss greater regional cooperation and stronger ties.
The organisation was created in Venezuela under the late President Hugo Chavez with many of the left-wing leaders within the group seeing CELAC as a platform to fight what they consider imperialism in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The CELAC nations have nearly 600 million people and a gross domestic product of about $6 trillion dollars.
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