The United States has decided to end participation in the UN process to develop a Global Compact on Migration (GCM), the U.S. Department of State said Sunday.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the compact, adopted by the UN in September 2016, requires negotiations to be based on the New York Declaration. It commits to “strengthening global governance” and contains a number of policy goals that are inconsistent with U.S. law and policy, Tillerson said.
“While we will continue to engage on a number of fronts at the United Nations, in this case, we simply cannot in good faith support a process that could undermine the sovereign right of the United States to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders,” the statement explained. “The United States supports international cooperation on migration issues, but it is the primary responsibility of sovereign states to help ensure that migration is safe, orderly, and legal.”
Last year, the New York Declaration was widely praised for the global coordination it supports in responding to a tide of refugees, migrants and the internally displaced that is unprecedented in the modern era. It was approved during the Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants summit at the UN General Assembly.
Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, welcomed the historic agreement to work toward solving complex migration challenges. “The world – shocked by images of people fleeing in huge numbers and dying at sea – does not want our intentions to remain on paper,” he said.
Neither Grandi nor UNHCR issued an immediate response to the U.S. announcement, which comes amid renewed attention to the migrant situation in Libya and elsewhere on the African continent.