Immigration has been high on the agenda at the summit hosted by President Biden in Los Angeles, but the absence of many regional leaders that send many migrants north has raised questions about how much progress would be made on it.

President Biden seeks to step up action on climate at Americas' summit with hopes for at least small progress with Brazil.
President Biden seeks to step up action on climate at Americas' summit with hopes for at least small progress with Brazil. (AFP)

Leaders attending the Summit of the Americas are poised to issue a declaration pledging measures to curb illegal migration and help countries receiving a large number of migrants to cope with them, according to a draft document seen by the Reuters news agency.

Immigration has been high on the agenda at the summit hosted by Biden in Los Angeles. However, the absence of leaders from Mexico and other countries that send many migrants north has raised questions about how much progress would be made on it.

The document, which was dated both June 6 and June 7, included commitments to work on convening banks to review their financial instruments for migrant-hosting countries, as well as improving migrants' access to public and private services, Reuters said on Thursday.

It also lists pledges by Western Hemisphere countries to work together to boost regional law enforcement cooperation, information-sharing and visa regimes, while attempting to strengthen and expand temporary labor opportunities.

The White House and the State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether the draft was final.

Biden urges climate progress 

Earlier on Thursday, President Joe Biden sought to step up action on climate at an Americas summit with hopes for at least small progress with Brazil, whose far-right leader will hold a potentially tense meeting with the US president.

Some two dozen leaders have descended on Los Angeles for the summit, where Biden urged both governments and the private sector to show that democracy can work.

The summit comes as China makes rapid inroads in Latin America, long viewed by Washington as its turf, although Biden has steered clear of big-dollar pledges and has instead sought cooperation in targeted areas.

"We stand at an inflection point. More is going to change in the next 10 years than has changed in the last 30 years in the world," Biden told business leaders on Thursday on the sidelines of the summit.

"I find no reason why the Western Hemisphere over the next 10 years is not developed into the most democratic region in the world," he said.

Biden urged the hemisphere to make efforts on promoting more equitable growth and "kicking our action on climate change into high gear and speeding our clean-energy transition."

Biden-Bolsonaro meet

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will later on Thursday meet leaders of Caribbean nations that are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.

Ahead of Biden's first meeting with Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday, the White House said Brazil, Colombia and Peru would join a US-backed initiative to explore ways to reduce Amazon deforestation motivated by commodities industries.

Harris started the week-long summit by announcing commitments of $1.9 billion by businesses in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in hopes of creating jobs and discouraging migration –– an issue seized upon by Trump's Republican Party.

Also at the summit, the Biden administration announced a plan to help train 500,000 health workers in Latin America and a $300 million project to improve food security, with Russia's offensive on Ukraine disrupting grain exports.

Biden also declared what he called a new economic partnership for the Americas, although there were few concrete details and no promises of funding or greater market access.

Source: Reuters