The United States expects Spain to commit to hosting a “symbolic but significant number” of Central American refugees, as revealed the American website Axios citing preparatory documents for the Summit of the Americas, which is held in Los Angeles (California) between June 6 and 10. The contribution from Spain —which could double or triple the number of temporary workers from that region— would complement another more important one from Canada and would be an important political asset for the Biden Administration, pressured by the massive arrival of Central American refugees to its southern border.
Diplomatic sources did not want to comment on this information, but they have confirmed that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, will travel to Los Angeles next week to participate as a guest in the hemispheric summit. Spain has already attended these meetings as an observer on other occasions, the first edition of which was held in Miami (United States) in 1994; and the last one, to which President Donald Trump did not attend, in Peru in 2018. The organization of this international summit is causing a headache for the State Department, which has not invited Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, which has led a group of countries, headed by Mexico, to threaten not to attend if there are vetoes. A few days before its inauguration, the list of attendees has not yet been closed.
The reception of Central American refugees in Spain was addressed at the first meeting that the Spain-United States Working Group on Central America held in Madrid on May 25, with two delegations chaired by the Secretary of State for Ibero-America and the Caribbean, Juan Fernández Trigo, and the State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Emily Mendrala. According to Foreign Affairs, at the meeting – in which the Ministry of Social Security, Inclusion and Migration also participated – “proposals and actions were discussed to address jointly and with the countries of the region the challenges posed by forced displacement and movements irregular migrants from Central America.
In 2020, the number of applicants for international protection from Central America in Spain was around 15,000, especially Hondurans, Salvadorans and Nicaraguans, reports Maria Martin.
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