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US President Biden ready to agree historic migrant deal with Spain

Number of refugees to be resettled would be “modest but symbolically important”


US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden is poised to agree a landmark deal to send migrants at America’s southern border to Spain.

The proposals, which officials stress are still under discussion, could be announced at next week’s Summit of the Americas, as Mr Biden seeks global cooperation on the migrant crisis which has ballooned during his presidency.

Spain is facing a labour shortage despite having the highest unemployment rate in the EU at 13.5pc.

There are more than 100,000 vacancies in the key tourism sector, while the country is short of at least half a million building workers, according to unions and companies.

The initial number of refugees resettled by Spain would be “modest” but “symbolically important,” according to documents seen by Axios website.

It reported that Spain is also expected to agree to double or triple the number of temporary workers from Central America accepted through an employment-based migration programme.

It is unclear whether those whom Spain might resettle would be required to apply at US embassies and consulates outside the US or whether those who had crossed the border already would be allowed to apply.

Spain has long been a favoured destination for people from Latin America, given the shared language. In late 2021, there were at least 1.5 million Latin Americans (excluding Brazilians) residing in Spain, of which 626,000 were born in Central America and the Caribbean.

Canada, which has a long tradition as a safe-haven country, is also weighing whether to take in larger numbers of regional refugees and also to increase the number of Haitian workers it allows in, according to the documents.

Between 2015 and 2022, it welcomed only 1,500 migrants from the region, but may announce a new target of 5,000 over a number of years.

Summit preparations have been clouded by the threat of an embarrassing boycott by some regional leaders, including Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, if Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are not invited. 

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