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White House unveils strategy to manage immigration, control 'root causes'

Vice President Kamala Harris tours the El Paso Border Patrol Station in El Paso, Texas, on June 25. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI
Vice President Kamala Harris tours the El Paso Border Patrol Station in El Paso, Texas, on June 25. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

July 29 (UPI) -- The White House unveiled a strategic plan on Thursday that's designed to manage illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border and address root causes of migrations and protections for those trying to emigrate to the United States.

The White House said President Joe Biden's strategy takes "a humane and secure approach by improving regional cooperation, expanding protections and focusing on legal pathways for entering the United States.

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"Today, the Biden-Harris administration is releasing the Root Causes Strategy -- a core component of our administration's efforts to establish a fair, orderly, and humane immigration system," the White House said in a statement Thursday. "This strategy identifies, prioritizes, and coordinates actions to improve security, governance, human rights, and economic conditions in the region.

"It integrates various U.S. government tools, including diplomacy, foreign assistance, public diplomacy, and sanctions."

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The plan is anchored by five "pillars" -- addressing economic insecurity and inequality, combating corruption and advancing the rule of law, promoting respect for human rights, countering and preventing crimes and opposing sexual, gender-based and domestic violence.

The strategy also prioritizes stabilizing populations, expanding access to international protections, improving and expanding temporary labor programs, reintegrating returned persons, fostering humane management of borders and strengthening regional public messaging.

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"Our administration will consistently engage in the region to address the root causes of migration," Vice President Kamala Harris, who Biden tasked with handling the immigration crisis, said in a statement. "We will build on what works, and we will pivot away from what does not work.

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"It will not be easy, and progress will not be instantaneous, but we are committed to getting it right."

The plan says it's based on four core pieces of evidence -- that root causes are critical to managing overall immigration, that providing relief alone is insufficient, that there are multiple root causes and that international cooperation is essential.

"We have already received commitments from the governments of Mexico, Japan, and Korea, and the United Nations, to join the United States in providing relief to the region," the White House said.

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"It will not be easy, and progress will not be instantaneous, but we are committed to getting it right. Because we know: The strength and security of the United States depends on the implementation of strategies like this one."

"When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris came into office ... they really inherited a broken and dysfunctional system," a senior administration official told reporters Wednesday.

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"We're not seeking to end migration as part of the fabric of this region. ... We are seeking to change the ways in which people migrate," said another official. "To provide an alternative to the criminal smuggling and trafficking rings, and to give people access to opportunity and protection."

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