US cities dedicate resources to international negotiations on migrants and refugees

More than a dozen US cities have requested a role in global talks on responding to ever-larger waves of people on the move, days after President Trump exited the process.

The cities, led by New York and including Chicago, Washington, and Atlanta, hope to take part in negotiations to agree the first international compacts on migration and refugees, due to be adopted by the end of next year.

Last week, they joined more than 130 cities around the world seeking formal entry to the two sets of negotiations scheduled to start in February.

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“While our national government may decline to engage the international community on this urgent challenge, it is imperative that cities join the discussion,” Penny Abeywardena, New York City’s commissioner for international affairs, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The US government withdrew from the migration talks early in December, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson noting the process “could undermine the sovereign right of the United States to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders.”

The United States has not pulled out of the compact on refugees.

Bitta Mostofi, acting commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, said cities are tasked with providing support to all residents, from housing to health care and education.

“Our first-hand experiences are essential to ensuring that international guidelines truly meet the needs of refugees and migrants,” said Ms. Mostofi.

National US leaders are becoming “increasingly isolationist, xenophobic, and disconnected from cities’ values of inclusivity and growth,” she added.

Mr. Trump has endorsed a plan that would see legal immigration to the United States cut in half. His administration has also said it will allow in 45,000 refugees this fiscal year, less than half of what was proposed under the previous president, Barack Obama.

The US decision not to take part in the migration negotiations…

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