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New Blue-Ribbon Task Force: Regional Response Key to Addressing Migration in North and Central America
Press Release
Friday, June 4, 2021

New Blue-Ribbon Task Force: Regional Response Key to Addressing Migration in North and Central America




A new high-level task force launched today brings together civil society, business leaders, academic researchers and former policymakers to push for collective, regional responses to the longer-term economic, security and governance issues that impel migrants and asylum seekers to leave their homes.

In an inaugural statement, members of the North and Central American Task Force on Migration outline a new approach to the issues that must be addressed collectively by Western Hemisphere neighbors from Canada to Central America. The nongovernmental forum seeks to move beyond meetings of political leaders to facilitate solutions-oriented dialogue and clear channels of communication with government officials and regional and international institutions.

“It is time for a comprehensive, unified regional effort to address the major issue of refugees and migrants in the Americas,” the statement says. “No country is immune or unaffected by the large movements of people fleeing violence, corruption, poverty, criminality and the effects of climate change that impel thousands of people to seek protection in other countries.”

The task force is co-chaired by Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State; Lloyd Axworthy, Chair, World Refugee & Migration Council and former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mayu Brizuela de Avila, former Salvadoran Minister of Foreign Affairs; Laura Chinchilla, former President of Costa Rica; Silvia Giorguli Saucedo, President of El Colegio de México; and Cardinal Álvaro Ramazzini, Bishop of Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Task force members include a broad range of civil society, business and academic institutions.

Created through an initiative of the World Refugee & Migration Council in partnership with the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, El Colegio de México and the Inter-American Dialogue the task force will issue evidence-based recommendations that promote responsibility sharing across North and Central America to regional leaders on six key issues:

  • Humanitarian protection in the region, particularly for women and children who are at greatest risk.
  • Co-responsibility and cooperation for managing migration, focusing on enhancing regional approaches to migration in the region.
  • Institutional frameworks and domestic political considerations, including rule of law, governance, corruption and accountability.
  • Investment in long-term development to address violence and gangs, poverty and inequality, and the impacts of climate change.
  • Strengthening legal pathways for migration as an alternative to irregular migration, including private sponsorship, family reunification and labor migration.
  • Integration of refugees and migrants into receiving countries.

“Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Guatemala next week offers the opportunity for the United States to create a solid foundation for future engagement in the region. But the United States cannot respond alone,” said MPI President Andrew Selee, who is a task force member. “The vision driving this new North and Central American Task Force on Migration is an important one: It is only by engaging change-makers across our shared neighborhood that the region will be to achieve a longer-term reality where migration is more regular, predictable and secure.”

Task Force Co-Chairs

  • Secretary Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State and Honorary Chair, World Refugee & Migration Council
  • The Honorable Lloyd Axworthy, Chair, World Refugee & Migration Council, and former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs 
  • Lic. Mayu Brizuela de Avila, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, El Salvador
  • President Laura Chinchilla, former President of Costa Rica
  • Dr. Silvia Giorguli Saucedo, President, El Colegio de México
  • Cardinal Álvaro Ramazzini, Bishop of Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Task Force Members

  • Pedro Barquero, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Cortés
  • Allert Brown-Gort, Visiting Professor of international relations, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México
  • Noah Bullock, Executive Director, Cristosal
  • Father Juan Luis Carbajal Tejeda, Executive Secretary, Pastoral de Movilidad Humana
  • José Miguel Cruz, Director of Research, Florida International University, Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center
  • Diego de Sola, Co-Founder and Board Member, Glasswing
  • Katharine Donato, Director, Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University
  • Fay Faraday, Canadian social justice lawyer
  • Rafael Fernández de Castro, Director, Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies
  • Elizabeth Ferris, Professor, Georgetown University, and Vice President of Research, World Refugee & Migration Council
  • Jayne Fleming, Leader of Human Rights Team, Reed Smith, and International Project Director, Lamp Lifeboat Ladder
  • Fen Osler Hampson, President, World Refugee & Migration Council
  • Gina Kawas, Vidanta-Wilson Center Fellow
  • Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, Migration Policy Institute
  • Helena Olea, Associate Director for Programs, Alianza Americas
  • Salvador Paiz, Director, Foundation for the Development of Guatemala (FUNDESA)
  • Patricia Perez-Coutts, Chair of the Board, Cuso International
  • Guillermo E. Rishchynski, former Canadian Ambassador and Board of Directors, Canadian Council for the Americas
  • Allan Rock, President Emeritus and Professor of Law, University of Ottawa, and former Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Emilio Romano, CEO, Bank of America Mexico
  • Ana Mercedes Saiz, Executive Director, Sin Fronteras
  • Andrew Selee, President, Migration Policy Institute
  • Michael Shifter, President, Inter-American Dialogue
  • Eduardo Stein Barillas, former Vice President of Guatemala and Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Brian Stevenson, President and CEO, University Partnerships North America, Navitas
  • Irma A. Velásquez Nimatuj, Visiting Professor, Stanford University
  • Beatriz Zepeda, Professor and Researcher, Centro de Estudios Internacionales, El Colegio de México, and former Director, Flacso-Guatemala

More details on the North and Central American Task Force on Migration are available at wrmcouncil.org/taskforce.