Resettling Central American Refugees to Spain, Canada Would be Welcome News, U.S. Asylum System Still Needs Protection

June 2, 2022

Washington, D.C.—CWS today welcomed reports indicating that the Biden administration will soon announce a new partnership with Spain and Canada to address pressing refugee resettlement needs in the Western Hemisphere. The announcement will reportedly come during next week’s Summit of the Americas and will include a commitment from the government of Spain to resettle Central American refugees for the first time, an expansion of Canadian resettlement efforts in the region, as well as an increased commitment from the United States to ongoing efforts.
In response, Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Church World Service issued the following statement:
“If true, such an effort would be very welcome news to displaced people seeking refuge at the U.S. southern border. Many refugees from Central America flee their homes because of violence, persecution, economic upheaval, and the destruction of natural disasters, knowing that some among them may now be close to the end of their journey to safety will help them sleep a little easier tonight.
Such partnerships should always be at the core of international efforts to welcome the stranger, but this one is particularly prescient as the U.S. refugee resettlement program remains a shadow of its former self. After years of neglect and undermining, our capacity to welcome is being challenged, should this announcement signal a return to a robustly funded and fully staffed program, then the United States will be the better for it.
Such a step forward on refugee resettlement, however, must not come at the expense of those legally seeking asylum in the United States. The Biden administration and Congress must remain committed to our asylum system and address the harmful policies that are undermining it. Title 42, a policy that is forcing the vulnerable back to violence and danger outside of our borders, must be rescinded and not allowed to become the law of the land.”

For more information, or to speak with Owen, contact