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Trump Administration Pulls Out Of UN Migration Pact

| by Robert Fowler

The Trump administration has withdrawn from the United Nations' New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a nonbinding global compact designed to codify how nations treat migrants and refugees. U.S. officials said they would boycott negotiations for the agreement because it conflicted with President Donald Trump's stances on immigration.

On Nov. 2, the U.S. Mission informed the U.N. that it would not participate in a meeting among international leaders to negotiate the migrant compact. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley announced that the Trump administration would pull out of the agreement.

"America is proud of our immigrant heritage and our long-standing moral leadership in providing support to migrant and refugee populations across the globe," Haley said in a statement. "But our decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone."

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asserted that the compact would have undermined the Trump administration's immigration policies.

"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," Tillerson said.

In September 2016, 193 U.N. nations adopted the migrant compact. The global declaration sought to create international cooperation to address the worldwide refugee crisis. The U.N. refugee agency currently estimates that roughly 65 million people around the world have been displaced by climate change, poverty or war, including over 22 million refugees.

At the time, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees head Filippo Grandi asserted that the declaration would help secure the human rights of migrants worldwide, according to Newsweek.

Grandi stated that the migrant compact would address "what has been a perennial gap in the international protection system -- that of truly sharing responsibility for refugees."

U.N. countries will negotiate details of the declaration from Dec. 4 to 6 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

White House policy adviser Stephen Miller reportedly spearheaded efforts for the U.S. to pull out from the declaration. Tillerson and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly both supported the withdrawal. Haley was the only official to oppose leaving the compact and was overruled by Trump himself, Foreign Policy reports.

In his first week in office, Trump attempted to temporarily prohibit the entry of any international refugees into the U.S. via executive order, but the order faced pushback from courts and was not implemented until a Supreme Court decision in June, Reuters reports. The Trump administration has proposed allowing only 45,000 refugees to enter the U.S. in 2018.

U.N. General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak urged the Trump administration to reconsider its participation in the migrant compact, NBC News reports.

"The role of the United States in this process is critical as it has historically and generously welcomed people from all across the globe and remains home to the largest number of international migrants in the world," Lajcak's spokesperson said in a statement. "As such, it has the experience and expertise to help ensure that this process leads to a successful outcome."

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