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U.S. does not consider amnesty program ‘failure’

Posted: Thursday, September 7, 2023. 10:47 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Official figures from the Ministry of Immigration suggest that just over 12 thousand irregular migrants applied for the Government’s amnesty program which would guarantee permanent residency and a path to citizenship in the future.

While sizable, it represents less than a quarter of the expected 40 to 60 thousand migrant population in Belize estimated to be eligible.

In 2020, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration contributed five million U.S. dollars to Belize through its international partners. Most of these funds went to support the Government of Belize with the amnesty program. But did the program meet Washington’s expectations?

The Deputy Assistant Administrator at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Miledyi Guilarte, referred to Belize as a ‘model’ for its handling of the situation: “I think Belize, and we communicated this, has really become a model in many ways in our region for looking for all types of solutions to integrate migrants, so looking at sustainable solutions. And I think this is definitely, it’s in the beginning stages. We’re trying to identify any gaps and challenges where we may be able to assist. I think the announcement that I made today is in support of that. So no, I would not say that it is in any way a failure, but actually, something that a lot of the neighbors in the region should see as a model for looking at how to solve some of the challenges related to migration.”

The Government had previously indicated it would crack down on illegal migrants after the program and process for permanent residency was complete.

 

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