Biden Administration Considers Referring Migrants To Greece And Italy For Resettlement

The Biden administration is planning to refer some migrants in Latin America for resettlement in Greece and Italy as part of its ongoing efforts to discourage illegal border crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to two sources familiar with the government’s plans.

Under the initiative, Greece and Italy would accept migrants processed at Safe Mobility Offices, which the Biden administration established last year in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Guatemala to screen migrants seeking to reach the United States. The two European countries would join Canada and Spain in resettling a portion of the migrants processed at these offices, with each likely accepting around 500 or fewer individuals.

The Safe Mobility Offices are part of the administration’s broader strategy to reduce illegal border crossings by offering legal immigration opportunities to would-be migrants. Over the past year, these programs have been paired with stricter enforcement measures, such as a rule that presumes migrants ineligible for U.S. asylum if they failed to seek protection in a third country.

While unlawful crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border have decreased by more than 50% in May compared to the record high in December, the administration is preparing an executive action that would bar most asylum claims when illegal crossings surge, in an effort to prevent a potential spike in migration.

A State Department spokesperson noted that the Safe Mobility Offices have significantly increased the number of refugees resettled from the Western Hemisphere and confirmed that diplomatic discussions are underway with other countries to expand the initiative.